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Kenya's High Commission in Riyadh, UAE/FILE/Foreign Office

Kenya

Foreign Office denies claims Kenyans being mistreated in Saudi Arabia

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – The  Ministry of Foreign Affairs has termed as false and malicious allegations that Kenyan nationals in Saudi Arabia are being mistreated while seeking help at the Kenyan embassy in Riyadh following the death of a Kenyan woman in the country.

Through a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry has clarified that the woman identified as Rahab Njeri died in hospital where the Kenyan embassy had booked her refuting claims she was neglected by mission staff in Riyadh.

“Rahab Njeri Wachira, died in hospital on 14 June 2020 and not while seeking assistance at the Embassy. This notwithstanding, the death of a Kenyan abroad, irrespective of the circumstances, is always a concern to the Ministry both at Headquarters and to our Embassies on the ground,” the statement noted.

A section of Kenyans in Saudi Arabia, through a video online, claimed Rahab died due to negligence of the embassy officials who threw her out of the embassy offices where she had gone to seek assistance.

“The Embassy neglected her, we have tried our best because the Government of Saudi Arabia needed a letter from the Embassy that we did not get. We pleaded with the government because with their help she would not have died. We finally got her admitted but she was in a really bad condition and died,” a Kenyan in Riyadh claimed.

MFA said Njeri was accorded assistance despite her irregular status and lack of medical insurance and other relevant documentation which would have  enabled her to seek medical assistance in a health facility.

“Rahab was a run-away domestic worker and therefore had no medical insurance, no residency permit as well as other relevant documentation. An individual of such an irregular status would normally not get hospital admission and medical treatment, amongst other services in Saudi Arabia,” MFA noted.

The ministry said, the embassy intervened and facilitated her treatment and medical care at before she succumbed.

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“The Embassy did intervene and took her to Al-Imam Abdurrahman Al-Faisal Hospital – Riyadh in an ambulance on 7th March 2020 where Rahab underwent a surgical operation, the Embassy wrote to the same hospital requesting for Rahab’s admission for medical care and follow-up on 22nd May 2020. Rahab’s condition worsened and she was admitted to King Fahad Medical City on 14th June 2020 where she died on the same day,” part of the statement read.

The ministry  further urged Kenyans in diaspora to abide by the rules and regulations of respective host countries in order to avoid unnecessary hardships.

“It is standard practice that Kenyans travelling abroad for work or other reasons take medical and other insurance for the duration of their stay abroad to cater for various emergencies including sickness and death,” the ministry said.

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