Dr Assel Herera Correa,  Dr Landy Rodriguez

Dr Assel Herera Correa, a general physician (left) and Dr Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon. The two doctors were abducted in Mandera town on April 12, 2019. PHOTOS | COURTESY

In Tana River, the recall now leaves the county’s referral hospital in dire need of specialised services, with patients lined up for operation likely to be referred to Malindi or Mombasa.

Tana River residents expressed disappointment with the Mandera abductions and called on government to jealously protect the Cuban doctors.

"Our leaders should now donate their security for the Cuban doctors. There is no need of them having four security men in the city while two Cuban doctors are guarded by one police officer in a ‘battle field’”, said Mr Hussein Tambo, a resident.

Locals who talked to the Nation in Lamu expressed shock and disappointment over the move.

Mr Ahmed Khalifa said the arrival of the Cuban doctors was a new dawn for the health docket in the county.

“Referral cases had already been reduced by their presence. I hope the government will bring them back. This is a blow to us,” said Mr Khalifa.

Mrs Fatma Bule said they had high confidence in the Cuban medics.

KIDNAP

“Mandera is far from Lamu and that (abduction) shouldn’t affect us. I call on the government to also boost security in our county so that we continue enjoying the Cuban doctors’ services,” said Mrs Bule

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.

Reports by Kalume Kazungu, Stephen Oduor and Amina Wako.

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