Cuban Govt Breaks Silence Amid Reports 2 Doctors Kidnapped in Kenya Were Bombed in US Drone Strike

A collage of Cuban President Miguel Diaz and a US drone strike in Somalia.
Anadolu Ajansi

Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel on Saturday, February 17, addressed reports that two of the country’s doctors had been bombed in Somalia. 

The two Cuban doctors, Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez, were kidnapped in 2019 by Al Shabaab terrorists and taken to Somalia where they have been held captive ever since. 

Addressing the nation, President Miguel remarked that no official report from Kenya or Somalia confirmed that the two doctors had been killed by a United States drone strike in the town of Jilib, Lower Juba region.

“I express all my solidarity and affection to the families of our doctors Assel and Landy, in these moments of uncertainty and increased pain, in the face of the tragic news not yet confirmed, in whose clarification we are working hard with international authorities,” the President stated. 

Cuban doctors treating a patient in Mandera County in 2019.

Miguel Diaz added that he admired the strength of both families adding that the two doctors represented the noble and generous spirit of a people who share even what they do not have.

Despite reports that the doctors could have been killed by the drone strike, the Cuban President remarked that the nation was not giving up on the hope of finding them alive. 

“We will do so as long as there is no official confirmation that they have died,” he vowed. 

Earlier, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs remarked that it was in constant communication with the Kenyan and Somali governments. 

The two doctors were kidnapped during an outreach program in Mandera County in 2019 and were reported to have died in a bombing that occurred on Thursday, February 15. 

So far, this information has not been confirmed. In this regard, the Cuban authorities remain in permanent communication with their Kenyan and Somali counterparts, and our people will be immediately informed,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced. 

Assel Herrera was a specialist in General Medicine while Landy Rodriguez worked as a surgeon. 

The duo came to Kenya following a 2017 health exchange programme where Cuban doctors arrived in the country to help fill gaps in county hospitals while Kenyan doctors were to be sent to Cuba for specialised training.

In 2022, former President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed that the Kenyan government would do everything in its capacity to ensure the safe return of the abducted doctors. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta meets with Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla at State House in July 2022.
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