Armed Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab is demanding a ransom for the release of Cuban doctors they have kidnapped off north of Kenya.
After days of negotiations, community elders from Mandera and Bulahawo in Somalia who travelled deep into the horn of Africa nation confirmed that the two are alive and offering treatment to the community in a restricted environment and the militants are demanding a Ksh.150 million in ransom to release them.
The Kenyan government had ruled out possibilities of paying a ransom to secure the release of two Cuban doctors abducted from Mandera by Al Shabaab terrorists on Friday.
Police sources had alleged that the government will professionally attempt to rescue the doctors without paying any sum of money for the release of the two doctors Assel Herera Correa and Landy Rodriguez.
Police spokesperson Owino said any negotiations by the elders will not stall a government multi-agency team working round the clock to release the kidnapped doctors.
“If there are any negotiations to release the doctors then so be it. Our major interest is to have the doctors back and we will continue to do our work to ensure that happens,” the police spokesperson said.
In October 2011, after the kidnapping of three tourists in Lamu and two aid workers in the Dadaab refugee camps, Kenya took the unprecedented decision to send troops to southern Somalia to fight a fundamentalist group with links to al Qaida. Although there was no proof that Al Shabaab was directly involved in the kidnappings, the incidents were utilized by the Kenyan government to justify the intervention. Indeed, Nairobi did not act on its own and coordinated its activities with the Somali and Ethiopian armies. Moreover, Kenya’s largest military operation since achieving independence also received logistical assistance from France.