43 Kenyans stranded in Saudi Arabia rescued
More than 40 Kenyan women who were stranded in Saudi Arabia for months where they had gone to seek employment as domestic workers have been rescued.
The women returned to Kenya on Monday and Tuesday following intervention by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who visited Riyadh last month
The first group of 15 women arrived on Monday aboard a Qatar Airways and the second team of 28 arrived on Tuesday aboard Gulf Air and was received by their friends and relatives.
One of the women told the Standard they managed to come after an intervention by the VP asked for tracing and repatriation of the girls who had sent calls for help.
The VP’s spokesman Kaplich Baristo said they expect more of the women who have been in Riyadh to arrive home.
“The VP had instructed the embassy there to trace the girls and ensure they are facilitated home. It is good that they are finally here,” said Baristo.
More than 80 Kenyans had been stranded and starving in a transitional detention camp in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The group left Kenya with hopes of securing employment in the Middle East called on the government to rescue them.
They have been living under deplorable conditions with no food, no proper sleeping place or basic requirements.
Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi said the container where the victims were held was set up as a safe transit house after the number of distressed Kenyan workers in Saudi Arabia skyrocketed.
He said between January and April this year, more than 200 Kenyans had sought help from the embassy after falling out with their employers.
The PS explained that it was impractical to accommodate such high numbers at the official residence of Kenya’s ambassador.
“We had reached a crisis point. We made the best out of a desperate situation,” said Mwangi.
He said the law in Saudi Arabia that dictates anybody leaving the country must have a departing visa complicated the situation.
In other instances, he said, the employers had disputes with the employee prolonging the process of securing visas.
He said one of the measures taken by the Government was to suspend the recruitment of workers from Kenya to Saudi Arabia