Exactly 120 days since their abduction from Mandera, two Cuban doctors are still in Somalia and have since been forced to convert to Islamic religion, NIS reports indicate as reported by the Nation.
Initially, intelligence reports indicated that the two doctors had been abducted by bandits after which they were handed over to the militants within El-Adde region in Somalia.
Since then, little is known about the government’s efforts to rescue Dr Landy Rodriguez (a surgeon) and Dr Herera Correa (general practitioner).
A team of Somali elders from Kenya had travelled to Somalia where they led negotiations on the release of the doctors. Al-Shabaab had reportedly asked for Sh150 million ransom.
“Those we met at El-Adde denied abducting the doctors but admitted holding them in one of their hideouts. We were mistreated there,” one of the elders told the Nation.
They returned after two weeks in El-Adde. “We eventually met the doctors but after a tough time. They (Somali elders) warned against sustained military attacks on their camps in search of the Cubans and we agreed on condition that the doctors are not harmed,” said the elder.
A recent security report showed that the doctors were moved to Halaanqo forest near Barawe town where they were allegedly converted to Islam.
Despite their predicaments including being moved to forest and changing to Islam, the government through Mandera Police Commander Jeremiah Kosiom, says the doctors are alive.
“Efforts are ongoing to rescue the doctors but I don’t know when they will be released. What I know is that they are alive wherever they are,” said Mandera police commander Jeremiah ole Kosiom.
Early this week, a woman was executed at Gedo in Somalia after it emerged that she was allegedly spying for Kenya Defense Forces. Al-Shabaab militants have lately intensified their activities along Kenya-Somalia border.