ABDUCTED IN MANDERA

Use all means possible to rescue Cuban doctors, clerics urge

Supkem leaders appeal to Somali community in Somalia to liaise with Kenyan authorities to help

In Summary

• The government has since recalled other Cuban doctors stationed in Wajir and Garissa counties as precaution.

The two cuban doctors busy treating a patient at the Mandera county referral hospital in February this year.
The two cuban doctors busy treating a patient at the Mandera county referral hospital in February this year.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Garissa Supkem chairman Abdullahi Salat (R) in the town on Sunday April 14, 2019
CONCERNED: Garissa Supkem chairman Abdullahi Salat (R) in the town on Sunday April 14, 2019
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Muslim clerics in Garissa have asked the government to use all possible means to rescue the two Cuban doctors who were abducted in Mandera on Friday. 

Herrera Correa and Landhi Rodriguez were kidnapped by gunmen suspected al-Shabaab militants as they headed to work from their residence. One of their bodyguards was shot and killed on the spot before they were bundled into two waiting cars that later sped off towards Somalia. 

The government has intensified its search mission with a multi-agency security team coordinating the rescue efforts. 

Speaking at the Rtd General Mohamud Eid Grounds during a prayer for rains yesterday, the clerics urged "those involved in the cowardly criminal act to unconditionally release the doctors". 

Garissa Supkem chairman Abdullahi Salat said the kidnap was un-Islamic and unacceptable. He urged the Somali community living in Somalia to closely work with their government and Kenya security personnel to ensure the doctors are rescued. 

“We want to strongly condemn this incident that has only served to tint the image of our region once again when we all know that Mandera was slowly but steadily recovering from insecurity. It was four steps forward and now six steps backwards,” Salat said. 

The government has since recalled other Cuban doctors stationed in Wajir and Garissa counties as a precaution. 

He said the doctors were passionately serving after a majority of Kenyan medics working in Northeastern fled citing insecurity.

The chairman said the incident had not only dented the religion of Islam and the Somali community but also that of the people of Northeastern. 

Sheikh Hussein Mahat said the incident should act as a wake-up call to security officers to always remain alert.

“These criminals are always in our midst and only wait for an opportune moment to strike and carry out attacks. Security is our responsibility and its start with me and you,” Mahat said.

Mandera has not experienced terror attacks for the last three years but trade which was slowly picking up could be at the risk of disruption in the wake of the attack.

Police and Mandera leaders, led by Governor Ali Roba and Mandera East MP Omar Sheikh on Saturday held a security meeting with residents in Mandera town. They urged them to volunteer information to assist in rescuing the doctors.

Roba wondered how the militants managed to abduct the doctors despite the heavy presence of security officers in the town. Mandera also has about 100 KDF soldiers.

“Honestly, how is it that we have more than 1,000 security officers in a small town like this yet such an incident can take place in broad daylight. These are the questions we need to ask ourselves. I find it strange,”  said Roba.

Edited by Peter Obuya