Driver of abducted Cubans jailed for life

Thursday, March 24th, 2022 00:00 | By
Former Mandera County government driver Issack Ibrein Robow PHOTO/Nancy Gitonga

A former Mandera County government driver, who aided Al-Shabaab to abduct two Cuban doctors along the Kenya-Somali border four years ago was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Issack Ibrein Robow (pictured)  was sentenced by Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nanzushi who said the offence of terrorism was very serious and extremely dangerous and had negatively affected the Kenyan society.

Terrorist act

“I have considered both submissions by the prosecution and mitigation in the case. The court should, however, consider the seriousness of the offence. The impact left was serious as one officer died and two doctors disappeared,” the magistrate stated. 

Two Cuban doctors Landy Rodriguez-a surgeon, and Herera Correa-a general physician, were kidnapped in Kenya and held for over a year in Somalia before being released by the militants in October last year following months of negotiations. 

Last month, the magistrate convicted Robow of four counts of committing a terrorist act, abduction, aiding and abetting a terrorist act. The court however acquitted him of the fifth count of being in Kenya illegally for lack of evidence.

Robow will also serve 25 years in jail for the offence of kidnapping and hostage-taking of the two Cuban doctors. The magistrate also sentenced him to 15 years in jail for aiding and abetting a terrorist act and another six months in jail for falsely obtaining a Kenya identity card, all which will run concurrently.

While urging the court to hand Robow the maximum sentence, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said the victims have never healed from the heinous acts.

The DPP says many of Robow’s victims still experience nightmares and flashbacks following the incident. He argued that as a result of Robow’s acts, no government was willing to send its doctors to Kenya.

“Mandera County has never received any replacement after the abduction and no foreigner would want to work in Mandera because of the actions of the accused person,” the court was told.

Never recovered

The prosecution told the court that the police officer who survived the attack has never recovered as he saw his colleague being fatally shot by the terrorist.

“He saw the doctors being taken away with the assistance of the accused. He has considered leaving his job as he feels insecure. He admits to having nightmares and flashes from the incident.  He will never recover from it”, the prosecution said.

The court also heard that the officer who was murdered with the help of the accused left behind a widow who was pregnant with their first child.

“The child is now three years old and will never enjoy the joy of having a father. She (the widow) is a casual labourer and still harbours a lot of bitterness and anger towards Robow for losing their loved one.”

In mitigation, Robow through  lawyer Chacha Mwita urged the court to pass a lenient sentence saying he was diabetic and also a first offender.

While pleading for a non-custodial sentence, Mwita said that Robow continues to condole with the family of the late officer and that he was remorseful.

He was charged with committing a terrorist act which resulted in the death of APC Mutundo Kitambo. The offence was committed on April 12, 2019, in Mandera county.

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