FEBRUARY 12, 2024
A female Polish doctor, Aleksandra Kuligowska, kidnapped from the Saint-Michel Hospital near the town of Dono Manga in the Tandjile region, some 400Km/ 250 miles south of the capital, N'Djamena was rescued unharmed during a nighttime operation. Four attackers on motorbikes pretending to escort a patient kidnapped her and a Mexican doctor identified as Dr. Juan Carlos Salgado, 54. Dr. Salgado escaped during an clash between their kidnappers and local security forces, but Dr. Kuligowska was taken away into the dense forest around 10km/ 6 miles from the town. Talking to reporters Dr. Salgado said that the kidnappers told them they just wanted money and didn’t intend to kill them. Dr. Kuligowska was rescued at around 3 am local time in a joint operation by Chadian and French forces. The fleeing kidnappers fired at the helicopters carrying the rescue forces in an attempt to take it down, leaving the doctor behind. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski posted a video on social media in which he informed the woman's family of her release. He said she was getting a medical evaluation and would return soon to Poland. (kvnutalk.com, 12 February 2024 & abcnews.go.com, 13 February 2024 & bbc.com, 14 February 2024 & lasillarota.com, 18 February 2024)
FEBRUARY 07, 2024
Joseph Constantine Buonincontri, a 35-year-old New York man living in Mexico, was kidnapped by unknown men from his house in Limones and held for US$200,000. He was left to die by his kidnappers with his eyes shut and bound him by his wrists and ankles deep in the surrounding jungle, a remote area about 320 Km/ 200 miles southwest of Cancun in Quintana Roo state. Locals tipped off the police about a taxi from the popular resort area of Tulum filled with armed men driving through an opening in the jungle into the secluded wilderness, which sparked a search mission by military personnel and the Mexican National Guard. Buonincontri, was found unharmed on February 7 in an improvised straw hut. Authorities recovered a backpack with marijuana, a tactical vest and loaded magazines for an AR-15 where he was abandoned by his kidnappers. (nypost.com, 9 February 2024 & news.yahoo.com, 16 February 2024)
JANUARY 29, 2024
Balochistan Liberation Army announced the launch “Operation Dara-e-Bolan” in an area of over 70km/ 44 miles radius of Mach in Balochistan province. BLM gunmen reportedly blocked highways across the area where fierce clashes have been reported. The militant group warned local civilians in the operation area to stay in homes and avoid traveling on highways. According to local media, several paramilitary Frontier Corps and military checkpoints have fallen to the BLA near Mach as well as the railway station. The local prison as well as several local government buildings suffered heavy damage.
JANUARY 28, 2024
At around 11:40 am local time, two masked gunmen opened fire at the Santa Maria Church located in Istanbul’s Büyükdere neighborhood during Sunday service. The gunmen shot one person to death before fleeing on a motorcycle. Though Istanbul Governor told reporters that the attack seems to have targeted the deceased, the motive for the attack is being investigated. Hours later the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility via its Amag news agency saying it “attacked a gathering of Christian unbelievers during their polytheistic ceremony." The statement also showed photos of two masked armed men identified as the attackers. At around midnight, Interior Minister announced that the nation’s security agency arrested two foreign IS members, a Tajik and a Russian national, suspected of carrying out the attack.
FEBRUARY 15, 2024
The al-Shabab Somali jihadist group announced that two Cuban doctors kidnapped by that group from the city of Mandera in northern Kenya in April 2019 were killed in a U.S. army drone strike in Somalia. According to the terrorist group, the bombardment, began at around 12:10 am local time and targeted a house in the southern town of Jilib in which Dr. Assel Herrera and Dr. Landy Rodriguez, were killed. The statement included a photograph allegedly showing the body of one of the Cuban doctors. In May 2019, traditional leaders from Kenya and Somalia who travelled to the Somali region of Jubaland, controlled by Al Shabab, to negotiate on behalf of the doctors, confessed to seeing the doctors providing medical assistance to the local population. According to mediators, the kidnappers came to demand a ransom of US$1.5 million as a condition for their release, the Kenyan press reported at the time. The two were part of a contingent of a hundred Cuban professionals who arrived in Kenya in 2018 in implementation of a bilateral agreement to improve access to specialized health services in the African country. The al-Shabab’s claim was not officially confirmed by the Somali authorities or the Cuban government. (infobae.com, 17 February 2024)
The driver of the two kidnapped Cuban doctors, Issack Ibrein Robow, was found guilty of abetting terrorism, by aiding in the kidnapping of two physicians in Mandera County on April 12, 2019. Milimani Law Courts judge, Martha Nanzushi, ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond doubt that Robow lured the two doctors into the hands of the Al-Shabab terrorists by intentionally driving into an ambush. The medics were also being escorted by two police officers, one who was fatally shot during the kidnapping. (pulselive.co.ke, 16 February 2022)
Contrary to Kenyan media reports, claiming that the two kidnapped Cuban doctors were released on October 5, the Cuban Foreign Affairs ministry has denied the reports of their release. The two, Landy Rodriguez and Herera Correa, were kidnapped in a daring road ambush where the gunmen shot and killed one of the police officers guarding them. (the-star.co.ke, 8 October 2020)
At least eight al-Shabaab militants and an unspecified number of soldiers were killed in a clash with government troops aided by AMISOM forces in Maykarebey and Iimay in Gedo region during a search for the two Cuban doctors who were kidnapped in Kenya and are believed to have been moved there by their captors. The search for the two continue despite reports that Kenyan elders from Mandera were sent to the village of Bulahawo, in Gedo to renegotiate the ransom for the release of the two doctors. Security sources said the doctors are held within Gedo near El-Adde. They are held by the militant group and are said to be providing medical care to locals while awaiting the ransom payment. (hivisasa.com, 18 May 2019)
Gunmen traveling in two vehicles intercepted and kidnapped two Cuban doctors in the town of Mandera, the capital of the northwest Mandera County near the border with Somalia. The two doctors, identified as Dr. Assel Herrera Correa, a specialist in general medicine and Dr. Landy Rodriguez Hernandez, a surgeon, working at the Mandera County Hospital. During the kidnapping, the gunmen—suspected of being members of the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group--shot dead one of the two police officers guarding them and drove them in their car across the border into Somalia. The faith of the second police officer was not immediately known. Their vehicle, which belonged to the Mandera County hospital, was later recovered and the driver had been detained for interrogation. (reuters.com, 12 April 2019 & nbcnews.com, 12 April 2019)