The al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab has released two Cuban doctors who were kidnapped in Kenya and held for a year and a half in neighboring Somalia.
A senior Somali intelligence official told The Associated Press that the doctors were released over the weekend after months of negotiations with their captors. He declined to give further details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Several sources confirm that Somali intelligence, acting at the request of the Cuban government, negotiated for the doctors’ release after it obtained a video showing them a few months ago.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez thanked his Somali counterpart, Ahmed Isse Awad, for the efforts of his government to guarantee the return of the two Cuban doctors kidnapped more than a year ago in Kenya.
On Twitter, Cuba’s foreign minister referred that, in a telephone conversation, he thanked the Somali authorities for the support, and highlighted Cuba’s willingness to strengthen bilateral ties.
The Cuban doctors were kidnapped on April 12, 2019 while serving in Kenya, and since then Cuba’s government has been in permanent communication at the highest level for their return, both with Kenya and with Somalia.
Doctors Assel Herrera, a specialist in Comprehensive General Medicine from Las Tunas province, in the eastern zone; and Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon from Villa Clara (center), were part of the Cuban medical mission in Kenya.