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Untold Story of 7 Kenyans Stranded in Somalia

By Esther Nyambura

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When the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta closed the Kenya- Somalia border as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, 7 Kenyans namely: Patrick Mwangala, Ignas Kialu, Martin Mwaghazi, Abass Mutuku, Michael Mjala, Ellia Mwalili, and Gabriel Otieno were stuck and were left devastated in Somalia.           

The 7 had let go of their home comforts and went to Somalia in search of jobs in January. After a few days in Somalia, they had spent all the money they had on food and lodging.                                                     

“During our first week, we left Kismayo for the border town of Ras Kamboni near Lamu but the border was closed due to smuggling, human trafficking, and terror threats and was later closed due to COVID-19. I thought I will never see my family again” Patrick Mwangala, a 32-year-old said during an interview.               

“We were hungry, and we had lost hope. We were sleeping in an abandoned building corridor which later became flooded and we were forced to stand all night.” Kialu said.     

When they decided that enough is enough, the 7 walked from Ras Kamboni to Kiunga, Lamu County, and forced their way into Kenya and KDF officers took them home. The 7 are still upset that KDF soldiers in Somalia didn’t help them, even after interrogation.


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