U.S. pulls out non-essential diplomats from Cuba after mysterious attacks

ANI | Updated: Sep 29, 2017 23:36 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], September 29 (ANI): The United States on Friday ordered its non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana and their family members to leave as over the past several months, 21 U.S. Embassy employees have suffered a variety of injuries from mysterious attacks.

"On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our Embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel in order to minimise the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm," the U.S. State Department said, in a statement.

"Over the past several months, 21 U.S. Embassy employees have suffered a variety of injuries from attacks of an unknown nature. The affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty in sleeping. Investigators have been unable to determine who is responsible or what is causing these attacks," the statement further said.

The U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert took to Twitter to inform about the order issued by the U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson for their diplomats in Cuba.

"Sec Tillerson: @StateDept reduced personnel in #Cuba until #Cuba govt can ensure their safety. Well-being of people is our greatest concern," Nauert tweeted.

The Department has also issued a travel warning advisory for its citizens to avoid travel to Cuba.

"We have no reports that private U.S. citizens have been affected, but the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens. The Department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure," the statement read.

However, the Department stated that the U.S. should maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba and their work in Cuba should continue as usual.

Cuba has ensured the U.S. to cooperate and investigate these attacks, the Department said. (ANI)

iocl