THE Kenya government has vehemently rejected calls to negotiate with Somali-based terror group Al-Shabaab in a bid to secure the release of two Cuban doctors abducted by the gunmen last month.
The two medical practitioners, Doctors Assel Herera Correa and Landy Rodriguez, who are part of a group of Cuban doctors on assignment in Kenya from Havana, were taken in by suspected members of the Al-Shabaab when they raided the northern town of Mandera, which borders Somalia.
Responding to widely circulated reports to the effect that the militant group was demanding close to 1.5 Million USD as a ransom for the release of the abducted doctors, Foreign affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma was adamant that the government cannot broker a deal with terrorists.
Instead, a tough-talking Juma a security operation is underway to rescue the two doctors attached to Mandera County Referral Hospital from the terrorists’ hideouts deep inside Somalia.
“We believe that we’ll secure their release in the ongoing security operation but as a matter of policy, the government does not negotiate a ransom.
We’re hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home,” Juma said Speaking shortly after a closed-door meeting with the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in Nairobi, the Cabinet Secretary appealed for EU support to help Kenya’s bid to have the Al Shabaab group listed as a terrorist organization under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 of 1999.
“In combating global terrorism and sustaining the painful gains, we urge you to support Kenya in listing the Al Shabaab as a terrorist organization under the United Nations Security Council Resolution.” she said. According to Juma, the abduction of the Cuban medics was a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
The European Union top official hailed the good relations between Kenya and the European Union. “We see Kenya, not only as a gateway to the region and to Africa but also as an important hub.
We just inaugurated our new European embassy in Nairobi. It’s the second largest in the world and it’s not by coincidence. Our investments both economically and politically and in terms of security cooperation is key for the European Union,”she said