Esteban Lazo Hernández, Speaker of the Cuban Parliament, travels to Kenya in search for cooperation and clarification

Esteban Lazo travels to Kenya in search for cooperation and clarification

Press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba

Comrade Esteban Lazo Hernández, Speaker of the National People’s Power Assembly and President of the Council of State of Cuba has travelled to the Republic of Kenya as High Level Special Envoy in order to engage in urgent procedures with the top authorities of that country, searching for cooperation and clarification, in the light of the recent news published about the possible non-confirmed death of doctors Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodríguez Hernández, who were kidnapped in that country on April 12, 2019.

Soon after receiving the news, the Cuban government has given absolute priority to the procedures that, through different means and with several international actors, are being carried out in order to get more objective information about these events until exhausting all possibilities to confirm the situation facing our compatriots.

As part of those efforts, since Sunday, February 18, and in addition to the procedures and the communication with the government of Kenya, official contacts started to be established with the government of Somalia in search for more accurate information about the reported military operations.

According to several media that have quoted the statements made by the United States Africa Command, the action occurred in the evening of February 15, 2024, during a drone strike launched by the US armed forces in the town of Jilib in Somalia, where the kidnapped doctors were staying.  This information was ratified on February 19 by a spokeswoman for US Africa Command, as reported by CNN.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba addressed the US government via diplomatic channels on Sunday, February 18, asking for further clarification, and is still awaiting a response.

So far there has not been a public declaration from the US government or its armed forces confirming the news in relation to the kidnapped Cuban cooperation workers or denying the reports that have been published. The circumstances and characteristics of the military operation confirmed by the spokeswoman of AFRICOM; whether it was justified, or was carried out with the required care to avoid collateral damages and protect innocent civilians, with due respect for international humanitarian law, are yet to be known.

This is an issue on which several international organizations have expressed grave concerns in the past.


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