What abducted doctors had told Cuban media about working in Mandera – PHOTOS
Details about the two Cuban doctors who were on Friday morning kidnapped by alleged gunmen can now be revealed.
Dr Assel Herrera Correa is a specialist in Integral General Medicine and Surgery while his counterpart Dr Landy Rodriguez Hernandez is a specialist in surgery and were deployed to Mandera in June 2018.
Nairobi News has established that Dr Correa hails from Purto, Padre which is a municipality and town within a province known as Las Tunas which is located on the northern coastal region of Cuba.
Dr Correa has worked in Venezuela, Bostwana and Brazil.
Just a month after he started working in Mandera, he told Cuban media that he loved the town as it was a safe place and had friendly people.
He also said that he was eager to learn Swahili and the Somali language.
In the interview, he also revealed that he did not have a problem working anywhere as he was fit to work “in the midst of any kind of condition”.
Their social media accounts tell a story of foreigners who had fallen in love with Kenya at first sight.
When he arrived in Kenya on June 11, 2018, for instance, Dr Correa was so proud that he took photos touching the Kenyan flag which he uploaded on his Facebook account and captioned them with the words “I’m in Kenya”.
Dr Rodriguez on the other hand said that language was the main barrier affecting his job saying that he had downloaded a Google application that translates English to Spanish.
He said that he usually handles 10 surgical cases a day and even urged Kenyan doctors to try working in Mandera if they wanted to get more experience.
“I need a translator most of the time but I am trying my best to learn Swahili. Kenyan doctors should come here if they want to get more experience,” he said.
He said that he was slowly adapting to the culture of the people who live in Mandera.
Dr Correa and Dr Rodriguez were abducted by gunmen on Friday at 9am in the morning as they were on their way to work.
Their bodyguard, a Kenyan Administrative Police officer, was shot dead in the incident.
The victims were being escorted to work by a county vehicle car but along the way they were blocked by two cars.
According to police spokesperson Charles Owino, the gunmen took the two doctors across the border to Somalia.
He said that the county government vehicle had been found and the driver was being interrogated by the police.
“So far the county government vehicle, which belongs to (the) hospital has been recovered and the driver is being held for purposes of interrogation,” he said.
EDITORS NOTE: An earlier version of this story had stated that Dr Correa was attached to Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF). We have been informed that Dr Correa has not worked for MSF, either in Kenya or elsewhere, despite reference to the organisation on his Facebook page. The error is regretted.