Al-Shabaab militants suspected of abducting two Cuban doctors in northeastern Kenya are now demanding Ksh150 million ($1.5 million) in ransom.
This is according to the community elders who had gone to a remote village in Jubbaland, Somalia, where Dr Assel Herera Corea, a general practitioner, and Dr Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon, were believed to be held.
From both Mandera and Bulahawo in Somalia, the elders had been sent to the village located between Buale and El-Adde to negotiate for the release of the doctors.
Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino said he had no such information.
In the Somali community, elders are highly regarded and have the ability to resolve dangerous and sometimes complex issues.
The elders have confirmed that the two medics are alive and offering treatment to the community in a restricted area controlled by the Al-Shabaab.
Following the abduction, Cuban doctors posted in Wajir, Lamu, Garissa and Tana River were recalled for fear of their security. They were reassigned to other counties.
Dr Correa and Dr Rodriguez are medical expatriates working in Kenya under a special arrangement between the government and Cuba.
They were kidnapped on April 12 in an attack that saw a police officer shot dead when the militants ambushed the car they were travelling in. One officer managed to escape.