A police officer, who survived an attack in which two Cuban doctors were abducted in April, took the witness stand on Wednesday before a Nairobi Magistrate Court sitting in Mandera.
Constable Ramadhan Barua, said he was picked at the Mandera police line early in the morning on April 12 by a police car and together with Constable Katambo Ngala they headed to the residence of the two doctors.
Mr Ngala was shot dead in the incident.
The court officials arrived in Mandera Wednesday to visit the scene of abduction and to see how the environment where the incident happened looks like.
Dr Landy Rodriguez (a surgeon) and Dr Herera Correa (a general practitioner) were kidnapped in a daring road ambush by suspected Al-Shabaab militants, who killed one of the police officers escorting them.
“We were dropped off by the police vehicle that returned with our colleagues, who were on the night duty, we stayed to wait for the hospital vehicle that always transported the doctors,” Mr Barua told Principal Magistrate Martha Nanzushi.
He was testifying in a case where the driver of the vehicle in which the two doctor were travelling, Issack Ibrein Robow, is facing four counts including committing a terrorist act, kidnapping, falsely obtaining Kenyan registration and being unlawfully present in Kenya.
He said he noticed from the many concerns raised by Dr Rodriguez that their driver had not honoured a previous evening agreement on the time the medics would be picked.
“The doctors had asked the driver to pick them as early as 7:30 am but he did not show up. Dr Rodriguez asked my colleague to call the driver,” he said.
He said the driver, Mr Robow, only showed up at about 8:45am and they left the compound immediately.
“We were stopped by the governor’s convoy to give way for him to leave his residence before we followed them behind,” Mr Barua said.
Another interruption of their journey to Mandera County Referral Hospital where the two doctors worked happened again when the governor stopped to talk to a certain woman.
“We stopped again for the governor to speak to a certain lady before we proceeded and took the main road,” he said.
While on the highway, Mr Barua said the governor’s convoy sped off leaving them behind.
“After about five kilometers, while in town, a Probox overtook us and blocked us, four men came out,” he said.
The officer said four armed men alighted from the Probox and he counted three AK47 rifles.
“Immediately the Toyota Probox overtook us, our driver stopped, pulled the handbrake and opened his door to escape," the police officer said.
Mr Barua said he could not escape immediately since he had to know the direction of the shooting and at least the number of attackers.
“I only had a Ceska pistol which could not help me against the AK47 rifles. I dashed out of the vehicle leaving behind my colleague and the two doctors,” he said.
Hearing continues on Thursday.