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Murdered in Lebanon: Kenyan woman’s body returns home for burial

The body of Ms Christine Kemunto Getanda, a 30-year-old Kenyan woman who allegedly met a tragic end in Lebanon in August 2023, finally arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Tuesday, October 4, 2023, night.

Her family and friends had worked relentlessly for the past two months to ensure her body was returned to Kenya for a proper send-off.

“At last, the body of my mother has arrived in Kenya. Our hearts are now settled, and I really thank everyone who assisted us to bring back our mother,” Ms Kemunto’s daughter, Cynthia Kwamboka, told Nairobi News.

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Christine Kemunto Getanda during happier times before her sudden death. PHOTO| COURTESY

Ms Kemunto’s demise was shrouded in mystery.

The initial report claimed she had been knocked down by a motor vehicle on August 23, 2023, but her family later received information suggesting she had been attacked with a metal object.

She was pronounced dead at Abou Jaoude Hospital, where it was reported that she succumbed to brain hemorrhage cardiopulmonary arrest.

The hospital, where her body had been since her death, authorised the transportation of her remains back to Kenya.

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This tragic incident has left Ms Kemunto’s four children orphaned, as they had already lost their father in 2018.

Ms Kemunto’s daughter, Kwamboka, shared the heartbreaking moment she received a call on the day her mother was pronounced dead in Lebanon.

Disbelieving the news, she contacted her aunties in Lebanon, who confirmed the tragic news.

“I did not believe what I had been told, and I started reaching out to my aunties in Lebanon, who confirmed the news that my mother had died. That is when I decided to reach out to my other relatives in Kenya,” Ms Kemunto said.

Struggling with limited financial resources, the family contacted friends and relatives for support to repatriate the body back to Kenya.

“We do not have any cash; the money we collected in the first round the church boosted us, and we built a house,” Ms Kwamboka told Nairobi News.

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When they were informed that the body would finally be arriving in Kenya, they sought assistance from Haki Afrika, an organisation known for its commitment to human rights and social justice.

Accompanied by her friend, Ms Ruth Kwamboka, they visited Haki Afrika offices on Monday, October 2, 2023, seeking help. They interacted with officials, called friends and relatives, and garnered support to bring Ms Kemunto’s body back to Kenya.

In collaboration with Kitutu Chache South MP Anthony Kibagendi, Haki Afrika extended their support to ensure the family could give their beloved kin a dignified farewell.

When Nairobi News contacted Mr Kibagendi, the area MP from where the family is from, he said he would ensure the body arrives in Kenya and is taken to Kisii County, where it will be laid to rest.

“It is quite unfortunate that we lost a very young woman, and as a lawmaker, I will raise this concern in parliament. What is the fate of Kenyans working in Lebanon?” posed Mr Kibagendi.

Mr Hussein Khalid, the head of Haki Afrika, explained that their decision to assist the family was driven by their recognition of the family’s urgent need.

The arrival of Ms Kemunto’s body in Kenya marks a sombre conclusion to a challenging period for her family and friends, and it serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by Kenyan citizens working abroad.

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