According to the Kenyan Citizen Digital daily, Al-Shabaab is demanding a ransom for the Cuban doctors Assel Herrera and Landy Rodríguez, kidnapped in the town of Mandera last April 12.
According to the daily, the kidnappers would be demanding an amount equivalent to 1.5 million USD for their release.
UPDATE: KSH.150 M RANSOM DEMANDED BY ABDUCTORS
Abductors of the Cuban doctors demanded a ransom of Ksh.150M to release the two doctors. The Demand was made through elders sent to Somalia to negotiate their release pic.twitter.com/M1tbsMQP1r
— RTN Somali Tv (@rtnsomalitv) May 16, 2019
The news was reported by the community’s elders who, it was learned a few days ago, were taken to a remote location between the cities of Buale and El-Ade, in Somalia.
After days of negotiations, the elders of Mandera (Kenya) and Bulahawo (Somalia) announced that both doctors were alive and treating the community “in a restricted environment.”
The Kenyan authorities have tried to keep the elders as negotiators for the doctors’ release.
In the Somali community, elders are highly appreciated and they are the ones in charge of interceding in order to solve complex problems within the community or intercommunity.
“They’re not going to release them unless a reward is paid, that’s the truth. And that’s when the elderly come into play,” said the analyst for the Horn of Africa of the International Crisis Group (ICG), Abdullahi Abdille, during an interview with EFE.
However, so far the Kenyan government ―a country castigated on its north-eastern border since it invaded Somalia in 2011 to pursue Al-Shabaab― has been against any payment that could encourage further kidnappings.
Landy Rodríguez, surgeon, and Assel Herrera Correa, specialist in general medicine, were being escorted last April 12 to the Mandera Hospital when they were accosted by armed men, who killed a police officer.
The governor of the county of Mandera, Ali Roba, already attributed the kidnapping to “alleged members of Al-Shabaab” and expressed his “deepest condolences” for the death of the murdered agent, whom he considered a “fallen hero.”
The two doctors are part of a contingent of 100 Cuban doctors who arrived in Kenya in 2018, under an agreement signed between the two countries to improve access to specialized medical services in the African nation.
This agreement also allows for the sending to Cuba of 50 Kenyan doctors to receive training.
Al-Shabaab, which joined the Al Qaeda terrorist network in 2012, controls part of central and southern Somalia, where it wants to establish a Wahhabi-style Islamic state.
Somalia has been in a state of war and chaos since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barré was ousted, leaving the country without an effective government and in the hands of radical Islamic militias, warlords and armed criminal gangs.
So far there are no reactions from the government of Cuba on this news.
EFE / OnCuba