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Joyce Aoko: Kenyan woman rescued from Albania after distress call on social media

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the State Department for Diaspora Affairs, has confirmed the evacuation of a Kenyan citizen working in Tirana, Albania.

According to the statement released on Wednesday, the ministry followed the alert received from social media about Ms Joyce Aoko, who needed medication attention.

It is reported that unknown persons brutally attacked Aoko at her place of work in August 2022, which led to serious injuries.

Joyce Aoko

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She was hospitalized for treatment, but her condition remains critical, hence the need for better medical attention.

“Unfortunately, she needed specialized neurological care which was not available in Albania,” the State Department said.

According to police reports, Aoko was reported missing before being found in a critical condition. She currently requires assistance with eating and breathing through tubes, and needs help adjusting her position in the hospital bed.

A GoFundMe page has been created to raise $500,000 for her non-trauma rehabilitation at the Brain Neurological Rehabilitation Center.

Joyce Aoko hospitalised after the traumatic attack in Albania.
Joyce Aoko hospitalised after the traumatic attack in Albania. PHOTO| COURTESY

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Aoko’s mother, Ruth Achieng Aoko, stated, “I have prayed for her and taken care of her since I got to the hospital. I am hopeful that my daughter will eventually get well,” amidst tears.

In a video shared on the Lynn Ngugi Show on December 7, Aoko’s mother emotionally recounted her last conversation with her daughter.

She shared that Aoko contacted her at around 4am and they talked over the phone before Aoko went to freshen up and warm her food.

They continued to talk over text for about 25 minutes before Aoko went silent without warning.

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The mother stated, “Her last text was at 4.25 am telling me her food is nice. We were waiting for her to come home at the end of August little did I know that morning would be the start of a painful journey in my daughter’s life.”

She also shared how life had changed for her and her daughter after Aoko got a job in Albania, and how she had moved her from Dandora to Buruburu.

She was shocked to receive a call from the casino where Aoko worked and was informed that her daughter had been hospitalized after an accident.

The mother wondered, “They did not tell me how my daughter got into the accident. Joy was healthy when we last spoke. What could have happened to her in the room?”

Joyce Aoko

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The Kenyan government has urged the government of Albania to conduct speedy and thorough investigations to bring the perpetrators to book even as it evacuates Aoko.

“We found it fit and in Ms Aoko’s best interests, to bring her home to complete her journey of healing among her loved ones.”

Aoko, her mother, and the medical team left Albania on Wednesday morning, and the plane carrying them is expected to touch down at Wilson Airport later at 8 pm.

She will be received at the airport by the Principal Secretary for Diaspora Affairs, Ms Roseline K Njogu.

After arrival,Aoko will be taken to Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH) for further treatment.

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Also, the State Department said that it would be at the airport to offer free counselling to the family members of Aoko before and after her arrival.

This comes as the administration of President William Ruto assures Kenyans working in the diaspora that their rights will be protected.

Immediately after taking office as the Foreign Affairs CS, Alfred Mutua promised to solve the challenges Kenyans working and living in Saudi Arabia have faced for years.

“It is clear that the problems facing some of our people start back home in Kenya. The system is flawed and corrupt and unless it’s fixed, nothing will change. There is massive corruption in the way Kenyans are prepared before they leave to be domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and follow up of Kenyans when they arrive,” CS Mutua said.

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