Kakamega woman’s body ‘forgotten’ at Germany airport during transit
By John Shilitsa | April 29th 2021
A family in Kakamega has had to cancel burial arrangements of Salida Vugutsa who died in Saudi Arabia on January 29 after her body was left in Germany following a mix-up.
The family 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 it 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 and later informed our driver that the consignment, with the body, was left in Germany by mistake. We hired a hearse on Monday so that the team could have time to rest before reporting to the JKIA,” said Patrick Talia, Vugutsa's brother.
The family was informed that the body would arrive on Thursday night, but Talia said the owner of the hearse was demanding Sh100,000 following the delay.
“We were told that the body would arrive on Thursday night but he insisted that we pay Sh40,000 on top of Sh60,000 we paid earlier,” said Talia.
The family could not understand how the mix-up occurred.
“We suspect, maybe, the body did not leave Saudi Arabia at all or there could be a cover-up 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 bring closure to their missing kin’s chapter.
“We have been mourning for close to two months. It hurts when you are taken through such agony,” said Talia
Vugutsa disappeared from home last year and was discovered to have flown to the Middle East in search of a job in January.
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, the last born in a family of six, was found dead in a thicket in Saudi Arabia.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted us about her death in March. We have been agonising about how to get the body back home, until the agent who shuttled her to Saudi Arabia offered to cater for the expenses. 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.
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