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Police: Abducted Cubans had expressed fear for their safety

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They had complained of the distance between their house and the hospital and requested to be hosted within the facility

The two doctors abducted in a daring attack by gunmen in Mandera town yesterday had expressed concerns over their safety, the Saturday Nation can reveal.

Of huge concern to Dr Assel Herera Correa, a general physician, and Dr Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon, was the five-kilometre distance they had to cover daily from their house at Busley to their work station at the Mandera Level Four Hospital. They lived in a house owned by a county government official.

The two medics were ambushed at Banisa stage while driving to the hospital in a

county-owned double-cabin pickup accompanied by two body guards, one of them who died in the attack, and the driver who was arrested and questioned.

Police Spokesman Charles Owino yesterday confirmed that the gunmen suspected to be Al Shabaab had crossed the border into Somalia with the doctors.

Search-and-rescue mission

While the fate of the medics is unknown, a contingent of Kenya Defence Forces, various units of Kenya Police and Kenya Police Reservists had been dispatched to chase after the two vehicles used in the raid and abduction.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma confirmed security agencies are engaged in the search-and-rescue mission to ensure the doctors’ safe return. “Today we have been reminded, again, of the evil machinations of international criminal networks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in contact with the Government of Cuba,” she said.

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Following the attack, a crisis security meeting was held in the border town. In attendance were North Eastern Regional Commissioner Mohamed Birik, Mandera East deputy County Commissioner Lawrence Omondi.

Dr Assel Herrera Correa.

Received complaints

A senior security officer confirmed to Saturday Nation that they had received complaints from the two who had requested that they be moved within the precincts of the hospital but their request had not been acted on.

“We also raised their concerns to our seniors and requested that they be moved to reside within the hospital but no action was taken,” the officer confided.

The officer added it was difficult for the abductors to strike at night since the town is manned by different security units in different areas and the high number of officers at the doctors’ home: “The attackers seemed to have taken notice of this and changed tack.” According to eye-witnesses, the usually busy terminus was thrown into confusion some minutes past 9am when loud gunshots were heard forcing locals to scamper for safety.

The armed assailants, who had arrived in two Probox vehicles, blocked the doctor’s pickup truck, alighted and opened fire at the Administration Police officer seated at the front killing him instantly.

READ ALSO:   Cuban doctors leave 3 counties in a huff

Witnesses said the other officer managed to escape in the attack as the gunmen quickly bundled the two health workers in one of the cars and sped off towards the Somalia border.

“Everything happened at lightning speed. We pounced on one man who turned out to be a police officer,” a witness said.

Our security source said the morning incident appeared planned since no one at the busy bus stage attempted to block the two Probox vehicles. “There are so many taxis in the area but none attempt to block the two vehicles that sped away with the doctors,” he said.

Officers dispatched early to pursue the attackers returned and reported that they were not be able to tell which route was used by the abductors after crossing into Somalia. “We are told the road divides into three once you enter Somalia and our officers could not identify which the abductors had used,” the source said. The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) took over the rescue mission.

At the hospital, Dr Rodriguez was scheduled to operate on patients yesterday morning according to a duty roster at the facility. The two doctors lived in the same house guarded by police reservists and two police officers. Two house helps washed, cooked and cleaned.

READ ALSO:   Several Security Officers Killed In Al Shabaab Attack, GSU Responders Waylaid

They were yet to get their own cars and relied on hospital drivers and vehicles, which they had complained delayed their movement. In an earlier interview with this writer, Dr Correa confirmed they usually had armed police with them.

Dr Assel Herrera Correa.

Condemned the incident

“We have security personnel around us all the time but despite that Mandera is safer than many other places I have worked including Brazil’s Amazonas area,” he said. When on duty, he used to attend to about 20 patients a day. He said locals were friendly and he was adapting to the culture.

Dr Mohamed Adan, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent had said the facility has recorded an upsurge in numbers of patients. Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union secretary-general Ouma Oluga on Friday condemned the incident.

“This incident is a reminder to all that medical workers should never be a target even during conflicts given the humanitarian nature of the services they offer,” he said in a statement. Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said they would ensure health services are not interrupted.

“As a council we are here to support you and should there be any gap, we are ready to stand in,” Mr Oparanya said in a statement. The abducted doctors are among 110 specialists sent from Cuba in June 2018 to improve the quality of medical services in rural areas.

source:Daily Nation

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I’m not a Shylock: Jaguar disowns money lending app

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Starehe MP Charles Njagua, popularly known as Jaguar, has disowned a money lending app that is being marketed as a platform enjoying his sponsorship.

Jaguar has warned the public not to fall victim of the app dubbed ‘Jaguar loan app’.

The app allegedly gives needy Kenyans loans from Sh5, 000.

It bears an old photo of the MP sitting in a chair with a bundle of cash in his hands. The picture was taken from a scene of Jaguar’s  video of his hit song ‘Kioo’.

“Kenyans don’t get duped…..It would be so sad to lose your money to unscrupulous people,” wrote Jaguar on his social media pages.

Unlike other apps that send money directly to a client’s mobile phone, ‘Jaguar loan app’ asks for details of the client’s bank account details where the money will be allegedly deposited.

“Mobile Loans makes it easy for you to access loans from your phone anywhere, any time. Sign up in less than 5 minutes, fill your bank account details, apply for a loan you qualify and receive your money straight to whichever bank account you provide.

“It’s a fast, convenient and reliable way to access instant credit when you need it most. We help you get instant and easy personal or business loans to meet your goals. Everything is done right from the app,” reads the instructions on the app.

READ ALSO:   Several Security Officers Killed In Al Shabaab Attack, GSU Responders Waylaid

Jaguar joins the list of politicians including Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino whose names and photos have been used by conmen to solicit money from unsuspecting Kenyans.

“Nmeekelea thao tatu usiseme zimekunywa Maji,” said donjazzy254.

“Nilikua nataka kui download ila nilipo ona niya “4.6mb” app niliishuku,” wrote tomilli_tenymes.

“Anzisha uenye ni real sasa coz i see the person in the picture ni wewe mwesh,” commented kiptookip.

“Thanks for the information,” stated Jessica Muli.

source:nairobinews

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Kenyan government freezes travel for officers without digital passports

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The government has frozen foreign travel for civil servants without digital passports.

In a circular dated April 15 to government institutions, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua cited hitches in processing of visa and entry permits using the machine-readable ones, which are set to expire in September.

Although entry and exit requirements vary from country to country, Mr Kinyua said the general rule is that a passport should be valid for at least six months at the time of travel.

“Considering that the machine-readable passports will cease to be a valid travel document with effect from September 1, 2019, any machine-readable passport is already outside the 6 months validity period,” Mr Kinyua said in the circular which re-emphasised an earlier one he wrote on September 26, 2018.

“To avoid inconveniences that may be occasioned on account of the limited validity period of the machine-readable passports and in observance of the above-mentioned circular, travel clearance should not be issued to officers who do not hold the e-passport.”

The order means that public servants who had planned to travel in the next few weeks could be forced to reschedule or abandon their travel unless they can acquire the e-passports quickly.

READ ALSO:   Revealed: How governors channel public funds to secret CoG account

The e-passports are designed to better protect national borders and identities of citizens. They have the latest security features and design techniques besides a new style polycarbonate bio-data page.

Kenya launched its e-passport programme in 2017, making it the first country in the East African Community (EAC) to do so.

This saw the country comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) global specifications and additional requirements set by EAC members.

E-passports have an embedded electronic chip in the passport booklet that stores the biographical information visible on page 2 of the document, as well as a digital security feature, according to ICAO.

APPLICATIONS

The digital security feature is a unique, country specific “digital signature” which can be verified using each nation’s respective certificate.

The government says the new passport is harder to duplicate and helps to counter threats from criminals such as terrorists and human traffickers.

The e-passport system was installed by British security printer De La Rue.

Mr Kinyua said that public servants are still making requests for visa facilitation using the machine-readable passports which are due to expire on August 31, 2019 in violation of the earlier circular.

“Please be advised that while passport requirements for entry and exit vary from country to country, the general rule is that a passport should have at least six (6) months validity when travelling internationally,” he said.

READ ALSO:   Several Security Officers Killed In Al Shabaab Attack, GSU Responders Waylaid

“Therefore, most countries will not issue a visa or permit a traveller to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final date of travel.”

He added that civil servants should make arrangements to apply for the new e-passports, noting that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not facilitate visa issuance for holders of the machine-readable passports.

Officials copied in the circular were asked to inform their staff of the passport rules. They include cabinet secretaries, county governors, principal secretaries, commissioners and holders of constitutional offices.

-nation.co.ke

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Police seek to detain city lawyer Assa Nyakundi longer over son’s death

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City lawyer Assa Nyakundi was on Thursday arraigned at the Makadara law courts to face accusations of shooting his son dead at his Muthaiga home.

Prosecution requested Chief Magistrate Nyaga to detain the suspect for one more day in order to interrogate him, take finger prints and to conduct a scene of crime reconstruction.

The defense did not oppose the application, but wanted reassurance that he will be arraigned on Friday.

The lawyer shot his son Joseph Nyakundi on March 17 near his Muthaiga home. Joseph was pronounced dead on arrival at the Aga Khan hospital.

Mr Nyakundi claimed to have fired the shot accidentally from inside the car. However, investigations suggest the shot was fired from outside the car.

Family of the late Joseph Nyakundi, son of top city lawyer Assa Nyakundi overcome with grief during his burial at the Langata Cemetery on April 02, 2019. Picture by Francis Nderitu

Source:nairobinews

READ ALSO:   Cuban doctors leave 3 counties in a huff
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