The Cuban government has denied reports that two Cuban doctors who were kidnapped in Kenya in April 2019 have been released.
The two, Dr Landy Rodriguez and Dr Assel Herera Correa, were kidnapped in a daring road ambush where the gunmen shot and killed one of the police officers guarding the medics.
Through a tweet by the Cuban Embassy in the United State, the Cuban Ministry of External Relationship said efforts to rescue the doctors was still ongoing.
“@CubaMINREX denies the accuracy of news about the alleged release of the two Cuban doctors in Kenya. Major efforts are made to ensure their release and safe return to #Cuba,” the Embassy tweeted.
— Cuban Embassy in US (@EmbaCubaUS) October 7, 2020
Cuba’s General Director of Press and Communication in the office of Ministry of External Relationship, Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, also confirmed that rescue efforts are still in progress.
“I deny the information circulated at dawn today about the alleged release of the two kidnapped Cuban doctors, Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodríguez Hernández. Huge efforts continue to be made to ensure the liberation and safe return to the Homeland,” Palacios tweeted.
The information about the release of the two doctors followed a tweet by Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.
“I had a telephone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Somalia Mr Ahmed Isse Awad. I appreciated the support and efforts of your government to guarantee the safe return of our kidnapped doctors. We highlight the will to strengthen bilateral ties between the two governments,” Rodríguez had tweeted.
In May last year, a security official who talked to one of the elders who were sent to Somalia to negotiate the release of the doctors said the medics were alive and were treating patients in an area controlled by Al-Shabaab militants.
“The doctors are well taken care of. They are under watch as they offer medical care to locals,” security official told the Nation back then.
The abducted doctors are among 100 Cuban specialists who arrived in Kenya in June 2018.