US investigating whether air strike against al-Shabaab in Somalia really killed two Cuban doctors held hostage at rebel camp

Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez.

From our Bureau of Doubly-Enslaved Doctors with some assistance from our Bureau of Untrustworthy News About Collateral Damage

Since the U.S. military is being blamed for the deaths of two Cuban slave doctors being held hostage by Islamist terrorists in Africa, an investigation has been launched by American authorities. The two doctors were taken hostage in April 2019, but the Cuban dictatorship refused to pay the ransom demanded by their captors. Thus far there is no confirmation that the doctors have died, or that any civilians were killed by the attacked launched against the terrorists by U.S. Africa command.

From CNN via The Citizen

The US is assessing whether an airstrike against al-Shabaab in Somalia killed two Cuban doctors, as the terror group claims.

The US carried out the airstrike on Thursday near Jilib in southern Somalia, according to US Africa Command, a stronghold of the al-Qaeda affiliate.

In a statement shared by the SITE Intelligence Group, Al-Shabaab said that a US drone strike hit a house in Jilibkilling the Cuban doctors Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez. It is the first time al-Shabaab has acknowledged holding the two Cubans hostage after kidnapping them from northeast Kenya nearly five years ago.

A spokeswoman for US Africa Command says they are aware of the reports that two civilians were killed in the strikes.

“The command will continue to assess the results of this operation and will provide additional information as available,” said Lennea Montandon in a statement.

A US defense official says there is no credible evidence that there were any civilian casualties in the strike, but they will continue to “investigate this allegation, as we take all such assertions seriously.”

The two doctors were kidnapped by al-Shabaab in Kenya in April 2019 in a brazen attack near the border with Somalia. A police officer who was escorting the doctors was killed in the attack. The doctors were in a government vehicle on their way to the hospital where they worked when they were taken hostage. At the time, Cuba’s Ministry of Health identified the doctors as Assel Herrera Correa, a specialist in general medicine, and Landy Rodriguez Hernandez, a surgeon.

Cuba and Kenya had an agreement to send doctors from Cuba to help with critical shortages of medical professionals in Kenya and to help implement universal healthcare coverage.

The US has less than 500 troops in Somalia that assist the Somali government in their ongoing fight against al-Shabaab militants, including carrying out strikes on al-Shabaab targets. The US considers al-Shabaab the largest al-Qaeda network in the world and one of the strongest, with the capability to attack US forces and US interests.

1 thought on “US investigating whether air strike against al-Shabaab in Somalia really killed two Cuban doctors held hostage at rebel camp”

  1. I think the regime had written them off a good while back, meaning the case was “shelved,” and only very occasionally mentioned them halfheartedly to maintain a semblance of caring. It was probably taken off guard by the announcement of their demise, and is now scrambling to appear as if it was on top of things all along. Kenya is probably even less interested, as it ended its rent-a-doc deal with Cuba in 2023, and Somalia is a mess with far more pressing concerns than a couple of kidnapped Cubans.

    We may never know what happened, even if the deaths are confirmed. It’s possible, for instance, that in the midst of the drone attack the medics saw a chance to escape and tried to get away but were killed by their captors. It’s very convenient to blame the US, both for the terrorists and for Cuba.

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