A family in Kakamega has been forced to cancel burial arrangements of their kin who died in Saudi Arabia on January 29 after the body was left in Germany by an airline following a mix-up.
The family of Slaida Vugutsa, 21, from Igina village in Lugari constituency arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Tuesday night but were shocked when they were informed that the body was missing.
“It is disturbing that we travelled all the way from Western to receive the body of my sister only to be told it was not on the plane. The staff appeared confused when we demanded to see the body. They later informed our driver that the consignment was left in Germany by mistake,” said Patrick Talia, brother of the deceased. “We hired a hearse on Monday so that the team could have time to rest before reporting to JKIA .”
According to Talia, the owner of the hearse demanded Sh100,000 following the delay.
“We were told that the body will be arriving on Thursday night but the hearse owner insisted that we pay Sh40,000 because of the delay on top of Sh60,000 we paid him earlier,” said Talia.
The family could not understand how the mix-up occured when the consignment was clearly marked.
“We suspect, maybe, the body did not leave Saudi Arabia at all or there could be a cover-up of some sort given the fact that we were informed about her death on March 22 yet she died in January,” added Talia.
He said the family would wish to bury the body and move on with life.
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“We have been mourning for close to two months. It hurts when you are taken through such agony,” said Talia
Vugutsa disappeared from home and was discovered to have flown to the Middle East in search of a job in January, last year.
According to Talia, the 21-year-old had just completed Form Four.
“While we were planning to take her to college, she went missing and the next thing we heard was that she had travelled to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Vugutsa is among many other girls who have suffered in Saudi Arabia.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted us about her death in March. We have been agonising on how to get the body back home, until the agent who shuttled her to Saudi Arabia offered to cater for the expenses,” said Talia.
Vugutsa, the last born in a family of six, was found dead in a thicket in Saudi Arabia.
“Some parts of her body were missing, according to the Ministry of Affairs, and it is not clear why the government did not inform us about her demise earlier,” lamented Talia.
According to Talia, the last time Vugutsa communicated with the family was in August, last year.
“I believe that is the time her troubles began,” he said.