Two Cuban doctors in Kenya kidnapped by suspected militants

Security officers and civilians stand next to the car where gunmen abducted two Cuban doctors as they were going to work, in Mandera county, Kenya. (Reuters)
Updated 12 April 2019

Two Cuban doctors in Kenya kidnapped by suspected militants

  • The operation happened as the two doctors — a general practitioner and a surgeon — were on the way to work in the town of Mandera, close to the border with Somalia
  • The two doctors, whose names have not been released, are part of a group of about 100 Cubans who came to Kenya last year to help boost health services

NAIROBI: Suspected Somali Al-Shabab militants kidnapped two Cuban doctors in northeastern Kenya on Friday and killed their police escort officer, officials said.
The operation happened as the two doctors — a general practitioner and a surgeon — were on the way to work in the town of Mandera, close to the border with Somalia.
“Today at around 9:00 am, suspected Al-Shabab militants abducted the two Cuban doctors stationed at the Mandera County Referral Hospital,” the county’s governor, Ali Roba said in a statement.
Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino said the assailants used two Toyota Probox cars to block the vehicle that the doctors were traveling in.
One of the two police officers escorting them “was shot by the attackers and died on the spot. The attackers succeeded to abduct the two doctors and crossed the border with them,” said Owino.
The driver of the doctors’ vehicle was arrested “and is currently being interrogated,” he said.
“Our security officers are pursuing the attackers.”
A senior police officer, who asked not to be named, told AFP: “From the modus operandi and the fact that they went toward the Somalia border, we have reasons to believe that the kidnappers are Al-Shabab.”
The two doctors, whose names have not been released, are part of a group of about 100 Cubans who came to Kenya last year to help boost health services.
Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militants have been waging an insurgency against Somalia’s foreign-backed government for over a decade.
Last November, an armed gang seized Silvia Romano, 23, an Italian charity worker, in the southeastern town of Chakama. Her whereabouts are unknown.
Police at the time warned against any speculation that the Shabab may have been involved in her abduction.
The Shabab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, have been fighting since 2007 to topple Somalia’s fragile government, which is supported by a 20,000-strong African Union force, Amisom.
The Shabab fled fixed positions they once held in Mogadishu in 2011, and have since lost many of their strongholds.
But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country, and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities, striking at the heart of Somalia’s government.
The group has carried out a number of attacks in Kenya in reprisal for the country’s participation in Amisom.
Kidnappings in Kenya are relatively rare but can have a devastating impact on tourism, a major income-earner.


Two dead in knife attack in French church, official says terrorism suspected

Updated 20 min 7 sec ago

Two dead in knife attack in French church, official says terrorism suspected

PARIS: French police say two people have been killed and several others injured in a knife attack near a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice.
The assailant was arrested after the Thursday morning attack and taken to a nearby hospital after being injured during his arrest, a police offical said. He was believed to be acting alone, the official said. She was not authorized to be publicly named.

 

Video footage shows police entering the church in Nice where the attack is thought to have been carried out. (Twitter)

A police source told Reuters a woman was decapitated, French politician Marine Le Pen also spoke of a decapitation having occurred in the attack. However, Arab News cannot independently confirm these reports. 

There have been unconfirmed reports that at least one of the victims was decapitated. (Twitter)
The reason for the attack is unclear. It comes as France is under high alert for terrorist attacks.
The lower house of parliament suspended a debate on new virus restrictions and held a moment of silence for the victims.