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Ransom negotiations over kidnapped Cuban doctors

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Nairobi, Kenya, May 16 (Infosplusgabon) - Militants holding two Cuban doctors kidnapped in Kenya's northeastern region of Mandera more than a month ago have demanded US$1.5 million in ransom in exchange for their release, Kenyan private broadcaster, Citizen Television, reported on Wednesday.

According to the television station, the two doctors - a general practitioner and a surgeon - continue to provide medical services to communities in the Al Shabaab-controlled regions in Somalia's Gedo region.

Negotiations have continued since a delegation of clan elders from Kenya made contacts with their counterparts in Buale and El Adde, Gedo region, in Jubbaland state, Somalia.

The proxy negotiations are currently focused on lowering the ransom demand and the clan elders from Mandera and Bulahawo in Somalia have been requested to continue the negotiations, Citizen TV reported.

Since the kidnapping of the two Cuban doctors in April, Kenya's National Security Advisory Committee, which comprises commanders from the key national security agencies, has been meeting regularly to review the operational status of the rescue mission launched immediately after the incident.

The two Cuban doctors, Assel Herera Correa and Landy Rodriguez, were seized in Mandera, as they drove to work on 12 April 2019.

The Kenyan security agencies launched a search and rescue mission by a multi-agency security team to help bring them back.

The National Security Advisory Committee has been briefing the Cabinet Secretaries for Health, Sicily Kariuki and Interior Secretary Fred Matiang'i and Defensc Secretary, Rachel Omamo, on the issue, according to the Kenyan government.

The Cabinet Secretaries have been in touch with their counterparts in Cuba, who have been receiving regular briefs on the ongoing efforts to locate and rescue the doctors.

FIN/INFOSPLUSGABON/KJH/GABON2019

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