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Kenya rules out ransom talks to free Cuban doctors from Shabaab

Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma however said an operation was ongoing to rescue the two Cuban doctors/file

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ruled out ransom negotiations with Al Shabaab militants in Somalia to secure the release of two Cuban doctors abducted from Mandera in April.

Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma however said an operation was ongoing to rescue the two doctors.

“We believe that we’ll secure their release in the ongoing security operation but as a matter of polity the government does not negotiate ransom. We’re hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home,” the CS assured during a joint media briefing with European Union (EU) High Representative Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini on Tuesday.

She was responding to reports that the Somali-based militant group had demanded for a $1.5 million ransom for the release of the doctors who were attached to Mandera County Referral Hospital.

The doctors – a general practitioner and a surgeon – were abducted on April 12 while commuting to work.

In her remarks during bilateral talks with the visiting envoy, CS Juma commended the EU’s efforts towards peace in Somalia through the Counter-terrorism Law Enforcement Project – Horn of Africa and Yemen.

She appealed for EU support to Kenya’s bid to have Al Shabaab listed as a terrorist organization under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 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 terrorism organization under the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1267,” she urged.

Juma’s call for the listing of the Somali-based militant group under Resolution 1267 follows the abduction of two Cuban doctors attached to the Mandera County Referral Hospital on April 12 by al-Shabaab militants, a move the foreign ministry termed as a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.

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Resolution 1267 was crafted on October 15, 1999, following repeated acts of aggression by the Taliban and groups linked to it.

UNSC had noted a significant rise in illicit production of opium, and the Taliban’s capture of the Consulate-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran and murder of Iranian diplomats in Mazar-e-Sharif.

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