COUNTY IS SAFE

Bring back Cuban doctors, Lamu residents plead

Liliana Casos, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dennis Orozco, a family physician, were evacuated in April 2019.

In Summary
  • Residents are appealing to the state to reconsider and redeploy the Cubans as security in the region has been improved.
  • Recent security reports indicate that Al shabaab militants have been subdued and most of their camps destroyed.

Lamu residents are pleading for the return of Cuban doctors, saying they miss their exceptional services.

Dr Liliana Casos, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr Dennis Orozco, a family physician, who had served for about 10 months since July 2018 were evacuated in April 2019 from King Fahad Hospital shortly after two Cuban doctors stationed in Mandera were abducted by al Shabaab militants.

It was later established that the Mandera doctors had been sneaked into Somalia by the militants where they remain held to date.

Subsequently, the national government issued an alert on April 15 of the same year recalling all Cuban doctors operating in the other four counties bordering Somalia, namely, Lamu, Wajir, Tana River and Garissa.

Security agencies have listed some parts of Lamu as terror-prone owing to a spate of attacks that have rocked the region in previous years.

Residents are, however, appealing to the state to reconsider and redeploy the Cubans as security in the region has been strengthened.

Recent security reports indicate that al Shabaab militants have been subdued and most of their camps destroyed by security officers undertaking the Linda Boni operation that has been underway since October 2015.

“The assumption had been that Lamu is unsafe but now thanks to efforts of our security officers, Lamu is safe with improved infrastructure all around us. Let the Cubans come back and help us,” elder Ali Gubo said.

“We don’t have orthopaedic services here. We have to go to Mombasa or beyond for the same. The government didn’t make an effort to replace the Cubans when they left and now people are suffering,” Hassan Mahadhi said.

The Lamu council of elders said the region continues to be marginalised by successive regimes.

“If indeed they were concerned for their security, let them rest assured that Lamu is safe now and nothing will happen to the Cuban doctors if they return,” the council deputy chairperson Mohamed Mbwana said.

Edited by Henry Makori