Revealed: How some Kenyan women die in Saudi Arabia 

Ms Jackline Muthoni who died in Saudi Arabia on June 10, 2022. The family learnt of their kin's death four months later.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Details have emerged of how Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia live in penury after being hooked onto drugs and alcohol while others are killed by their colleagues in love triangle disputes.

Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko volunteered to help bring back the bodies of Jackline Muthoni, 40, who hails from Meru, Lucy Mwanyae Kea, 24, and Mercy Mbula, 27, both from Kilifi County.

Mr Sonko, who paid for air tickets, mortuary fees and transporting the bodies to the women’s home counties, said Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua had played a key role in the repatriation.

But as the plane carrying the bodies touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday morning, a woman working in the Middle East country revealed that some Kenyans have taken to drugs and alcohol and cannot afford air tickets to return home.

Speaking to Nation.Africa in confidence, the woman said that after some Kenyans arrive in Saudi Arabia, they escape from cruel employers and look for more lucrative work.

“It is tempting to run away from the contract jobs because one is paid Sh30,000, while those working outside earn Sh60,000,” she said.

“But those who are not disciplined get into bad company and engage in drug and alcohol abuse. Because they spend all their money, little is left to send back home and they cannot afford fare to Kenya.

“Those who are out there are free and some of them even brew alcohol in their own houses and hold parties. It is during these parties that fights break out,” she said.

She added that Ms Mbula was killed by being doused in acid by a friend who had discovered she was dating her boyfriend.

Ms Mbula died of complications arising from “chemical burns” on October 10, said a report filed by Dr Naif Al Juhny in Riyadh.

Lucy Mbula Mutwota

Lucy Mbula Mutwota who died in Saudi Arabia.

Photo credit: Cortesy

“I was called by a friend, who told me they fought at a party where she was doused in acid. The problem is that after being injured in such incidents, one cannot go to hospital because they fear being arrested and they die in their houses,” the woman said.

While women fight over men who spoil them with lots of cash to a point of killing each other, some die after attempting to procure abortions, she said.

“If one becomes pregnant and they don’t want a baby, there are some people who assist them to get rid of the pregnancy. Some cases get serious and since they cannot go to a hospital, they die due to complications,” she said.

Some Kenyans disappear without a trace after being killed, their organs sold and their bodies buried in the desert, she claimed.

“There is a big trade in organs and the sale of kidneys is rampant. Some bosses are so evil that they kill [their employees], sell the organs and bury the body in the desert,” the woman said, claiming a friend of hers nearly fell victim to such a scheme and escaped.

Because there is no proper follow-up, she said, employers who engage in this trade surrender the passport of the victims to the Kenyan Embassy and report that the persons had escaped from employment.

Mr Sonko decried the rate at which Kenyans were dying in Saudi Arabia and called on the government to investigate and establish the cause of these deaths.

“The rate at which our Kenyan girls continue to die in Saudi Arabia is very alarming. It’s … high time relevant government authorities start conducting [postmortems] once the bodies land in our country to ascertain the cause of death and also to confirm if any body parts are missing,” Mr Sonko wrote on his social media pages.

Ms Muthoni will be buried on Friday this week at her family’s home in Kanyakine, Imenti South, said her elder sister Caroline Kagwiria.


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