Nairobi News

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Kin of Kenyan woman who died in Iraq plead with government to bring her body home

A Kenyan family is pleading with the government to help them bring back the body of their daughter who died in Iraq last year.

Ruth Omungala, 47, passed away in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on December 26, 2019.

ABUSE

Omungala had worked in Iraq for a year, allegedly faced physical abuse and malnutrition from her employer, which led to a decline in her health.

One of her Kenyan workmates, Grace Makokha, said Omungala complained of vomiting and diarrhea and died after her agent refused to take her to hospital.

“She requested her agent in Iraq for medical care which was poorly served and her condition continued to deteriorate each day,” she said.

Her family says Omungala’s employer requested to bury her in Baghdad to save them the cost of airlifting her remains to Kenya but they declined.

“My sister lived in Nairobi and worked as a nanny. She also did other odd jobs. We were shocked when we learned she had traveled to Baghdad and died after falling sick,” said Joash Okulia, the deceased’s brother.

BURIAL

The family says a lawyer and people claiming to work for human rights organization have asked them for money to help them bring back Omungala’s body.

“They are asking us to pay money. We paid Sh60,000 to a lawyer who promised to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help facilitate the transportation of my sister’s body for burial but since January, he no longer picks my calls,” said Okulia.

The family has asked the government to intervene and help them bring the body of their kin to Kenya for burial.

Her final request was to be flown back home but the agent identified only as Ali said this would happen after Christmas.

Her agent took no action despite being informed that she was severely vomiting. A photo showing a debilitated Ruth in the last minutes of her life was shared in a WhatsApp group.

Omungala hails from Mwirinya Village, Mumias West Sub-County in Kakamega County.