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Axel and Landy › World › Five years on from Granma's infamous and ridiculous hijacking

Axel and Landy › World › Five years on from Granma's infamous and ridiculous hijacking

Five years have passed since the kidnapping of Cuban doctors Azel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodríguez Hernández, who were working in the country on April 12, 2019, as part of a voluntary intergovernmental cooperation agreement.

Since the news of the horrific and absurd kidnapping became known, the governments of Kenya, Somalia and Cuba have made countless and enormous efforts to rescue and repatriate our two doctors.

The Government of Cuba thanks the Governments of the Republic of Kenya, the Federal Republic of Somalia and other countries for the ongoing efforts to free our doctors.

This extraordinary and unprecedented event in the long history of international medical cooperation in Cuba has received the permanent supervision of Army General Raul Castro Ruz and the attention of the Party, State and Government led by the First Secretary of the Republic and the President. Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, and officials and institutions inside and outside Cuba.

On February 17, we received the difficult and disturbing news that two of our comrades, victims of an airstrike on February 15 by US military forces operating in Somalia, had reportedly died.

Despite several attempts by the Cuban government, it has not been able to obtain any information or evidence to clarify their situation and reach definitive conclusions as to whether Asel and Landy are alive or to confirm the tragic news published on December 17. February.

The data obtained to date are insufficient to confirm the truth of what happened according to procedures supported by science and national law.

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What has been established so far is that on the night of February 15, 2024, the United States African Command (AFRICOM) operating in Somalia launched an airstrike on the area where the medics were.

Given the nature of the conflict in Somalia and the impossibility of confirmation, in recent weeks the Cuban government has repeatedly requested the US government, through direct communications and diplomatic notes, for accurate information about the events that have occurred.

Under pressure, the US government confirmed that the attack had taken place in the area where our doctors were, but without a precise description of the location. He also said that his officials have started an investigation. However, to date, the US government has not responded with the necessary seriousness or urgency. Even data on the circumstances and characteristics of the operation carried out is not provided. It does not make clear whether this was justified and whether US military forces acted with due respect for international humanitarian law and with due diligence to protect civilians and the innocent. It does not provide information on casualties or provide any data that would allow us to determine whether our doctors were among the victims of the attack during the operations carried out by the US Africa Command, dates and geographical area.

The Cuban government respectfully communicated these information requests to the US government and considers the cooperation and due diligence expected between states in such sensitive situations. He has done so knowing that various sources confirm that the US military operation allegedly deprived our countrymen of its troops and weapons.

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The lack of data and the immediate and inadequate response of the United States government prevent us from having the accurate elements to give relatives and our people a solid version of what happened.

We look forward to an official response to the inquiries respectfully submitted by Cuba, with elements that can be provided by US civilian and military agencies operating in Somalia and in that region of the world.

The Government of Cuba reiterates its gratitude to the Governments of the Republic of Kenya, the Federal Republic of Somalia and other countries for the efforts made.

Our government is in constant contact with the United States seeking information. He will not rest in hope or effort until he knows the truth.

Havana, April 12, 2024