Family Causes 5-Hour Standoff at JKIA Over Dead Body

  • A bereaved family caused a 5-hour standoff at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) after the arrival of the body of their daughter from Saudi Arabia.

    Initially, the family had refused to sign the documents accepting the body leading to a standoff with officials at JKIA.

    It took the intervention of top officials at the country’s biggest and busiest airport for the family to accept the body and transport it to Kenyatta University Funeral Home.

    The family was assured by a representative of the Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) that the matter will be handled by the government.

    An undated photo of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Embakasi, Nairobi
    An undated photo of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Embakasi, Nairobi

    The remains of their daughter landed at JKIA on Wednesday, May 11, with the family claiming their daughter was tortured in Saudi Arabia.

    Her mother explained that the 21-year-old had visible signs of torture all over her body, calling on the government to take action.

    “The head is disfigured with eyes seeming to have been gouged out. Her neck has deep cuts and stitches. Maybe they slit her throat.


    “Some flesh behind her legs is missing, maybe because she died a long time ago and some body parts were interfered with,” her mother stated.

    She made an emotional appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene to ensure Kenyan workers are accorded hospitable reception in Saudi Arabia.

    “It is very painful for any parent and I appeal to those willing to come and view the body and see how our children are suffering in Saudi Arabia yet the government is silent. I wish President Uhuru could have time to see this,” she appealed.

    The death comes months after the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli, accused senior government officials of ignoring the plight of migrant workers in the Middle East and the Gulf region.

    Atwoli alleged that the employment agencies which offer job opportunities to Kenyans in the Gulf nations are owned by top officials within the Ministry of Labour.

    “I learnt that senior officers from the Ministry of Labour are the people owning these agencies. How do they stop it and they are the ones promoting this direct slavery? They are doing all funny types of things and they are protected,” he alleged.

    He, however, expressed confidence that the next government would fix loopholes in the employment sector involving Kenya and the Middle East.

    “Our government is not sensitive. I have time and again appealed to the Kenyan government to stop this menace of sending our young girls to the Gulf. You can be poor but a proud poor person in your country.

    “I hear our Minister for Labour talking proudly that we have managed to secure more than 500 jobs. What type of jobs? Are these decent jobs? These people come back in coffins,” he remarked.

    COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli,
    COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli during a meeting with COTU shop stewards on Thursday April 28, 2022.
    Francis Atwoli
    died death killed
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