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Kenya arrests one suspect after abduction of two Cuban doctors

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police said Friday they are interrogating one suspect in connection with the abduction of two Cuban doctors in Mandera town in northeast Kenya near the Somali border by suspected al-Shabab militants.

Charles Owino, spokesman for Kenya’s National Police Service said the suspect who is a driver of the two medics will be questioned on the incident in which a police officer who was guarding the two foreigners was killed.

"They were abducted on their way to work and the vehicle that was ferrying the doctors has been recovered.

"We have arrested the driver who is currently being interrogated," he told journalists in Nairobi.

Owino said the two, Assel Herera Correa and Landy Rodriguez, were heading to Mandera County Referral Hospital which is their work station before the ambush at around 9 am.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in Mandera following the abduction.

There are reports of gunshots being heard in the border area as the military moved to the scene in search of the victims.

The two medics are among 100 Cuban specialists who arrived in the country in June 2018 as a bilateral arrangement between Kenya and Cuban governments.

Ali Roba, Mandera County governor said the assailants blocked their vehicle with a saloon car before alighting and opening fire on their bodyguards, killing one instantly.

"The officer lost his life in line of duty protecting the lives of our Cuban doctors.

"While I believe that all efforts are being done by our government to pursue the attackers, we would like to appeal to them to do whatever it takes to save the lives of our Cuban doctors and bring them back from captivity," Roba said.

The fate of the two doctors remains unknown but security agencies led by the military are inside Somalia pursuing the attackers and victims.


Al-Shabab suspects kidnap two Cuban doctors in Kenya’s border town

MANDERA (Xinhua) -- Suspected al-Shabab militants on Friday abducted two Cuban doctors during a road ambush in Mandera town in northeast Kenya near the Somali border, officials said.

Security agencies and local government officials said the militants first blocked a vehicle carrying the medics at around 9a.m.(0600 GMT) before opening fire on the police officer who was guarding the medics and killing him on the spot.

"They were ambushed on the road as they headed for work.

"We suspect they have crossed the border into Somalia," said a police officer who declined to be named.

The security officer said a major security operation has been launched in the border region in search of the victims.

Witnesses said the two doctors were in a government vehicle before the militants drove off to an unknown destination.

The Cuban medics have been working in Kenya since June 2018 as part of a bilateral arrangement between the two governments. Under the agreement, about 100 Cuban specialist doctors including plastic surgeons and neurologists have been deployed across Kenya.

The latest abduction came as Kenyan security forces intensified their search for an Italian woman kidnapped on Nov. 20, 2018 by unknown gunmen in the coastal town of Malindi.

The 23-year-old woman and her kidnappers are still in a forest in the coastal region and negotiations are underway for her release.



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