In a statement to the press re-shared by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the general director of Press and Communications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Juan Antonio FernÃ¡ndez Palacios revealed that efforts to rescue the two doctors were still ongoing.
“I deny the information circulated at dawn today on the alleged release of the two kidnapped Cuban doctors, Assel Herrera Correa and Landy RodrÃguez HernÃ¡ndez.
“Huge efforts continue to be made to ensure the liberation and safe return to the Homeland,” he stated.
On Wednesday, October 7, The Associated Press reported that a senior Somali intelligence official disclosed the two doctors had been freed.
The report had further indicated that Bruno RodrÃguez, Cubaâ€™s foreign minister, in a social media post confirmed their release and thanked the Somali government for its help.
The media outlet had also noted that Rodriguez made the statement after speaking to Somaliaâ€™s foreign minister, Ahmed Isse Awad.
â€œI had a telephone conversation with the Somalian Foreign Minister Mr. Ahmed Isse Awad. I appreciated the support and efforts of his government to guarantee the safe return of our kidnapped doctors,â€ the publication quoted Rodrigiuez.
The false report was quickly picked by other media reporters worldwide.
In December 2019, Cuban Council of Ministers Vice President, Ines Maria Chapman had issued an updated on the health and progress of the two medics.
Chapman detailed that the two were being treated well and were alive.
“The Kenyan authorities ratified that both doctors are well and will continue efforts for their safe return,” she stated.
The two Cuban doctors were abducted in Kenya on April 12, 2019 after being waylaid by the militants in a raid which saw one journalist shot dead.
Herrera Correa is a specialist in comprehensive general medicine while his colleague is a specialist in general surgery.
They formed part of a 100-member Cuban medical brigade that was working in Kenya under an agreement between Kenya and Cuba.