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Cuban doctors leave Lamu, Garissa and Wajir counties

Cuban doctors posted to counties bordering Somalia are leaving their stations in fear after their colleagues were kidnapped in Mandera and taken to Somalia.

At the weekend, the two specialists posted to Lamu left in a huff as the government evacuated medics attached to Wajir and Garissa counties.

“It’s true. The two Cuban doctors travelled out of Lamu abruptly over the weekend,” Lamu Health Executive Anne Gathoni told the Nation on Monday.

“The Mandera incident is really traumatising them and that’s why they are seeking guidance and counselling. It’s a matter under discussion on whether they will return to Lamu or not bearing in mind that our county also borders Somalia.”

The health workers in Wajir and Garissa were evacuated following a national security advisory from the capital Nairobi.

Garissa police boss Aaron Morasae disclosed that the team from Garissa left on Saturday morning, and it was not clear when they would resume work.

The departure of the medics is likely to hurt service delivery in the affected counties, with patients expected to travel long distances to access specialised care.

The panic and departure of the medics comes as Kenyan security agencies stepped up hunt for the gunmen who kidnapped health staff posted to Mandera on April 12.

Dr Assel Herera Correa (a general physician) and Dr Landy Rodriguez (a surgeon) were abducted by armed assailants who ambushed and blocked the vehicle ferrying them to work in Mandera town.

One of the police officers guarding the medics was killed instantly while the another one escaped with injuries.

It was the second abduction of foreigners in five months by suspected Al-Shabaab militia who are linked to the Al-Qaeda terror group.

On Friday, Mandera Governor Ali Roba condemned the attack and appealed to the elders to initiate talks with their counterparts in Bulahawa and ensure that the two return to Kenya safely.

“We appeal to the security agencies to do whatever it takes to save the lives of our Cuban doctors and bring them back from captivity. I send my condolences to the family of the departed officer,” Roba said.

Mandera elders left for Somalia on Friday to negotiate with their counterparts the release of the two doctors.

Elders of the Somali community are highly regarded and have the ability to resolve dangerous and sometimes complex issues.

By Daily Nation

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