174 Kenyans stranded in Saudi Arabia repatriated

Kenyans in Saudi
Kenyans in Saudi. [Photo courtesy]

Some 174 Kenyans were on Wednesday repatriated from Saudi Arabia by the Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh in collaboration with Saudi Airlines.

They were stuck in Saudi since March when a global suspension on international air travel was imposed.

In a statement, the mission said that the 174 Kenyans left the port city of Jeddah Wednesday morning.

“The Embassy, in conjunction with Saudi Airlines, successfully repatriated 174 Kenyans from Kingdom this morning. The Flight, SV431, departed at 7.45 am from the port city of Jeddah,” the statement read.

This comes after acrimony by some Kenyans following the death of their colleague who they said died from coronavirus.

Kenyan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Peter Ogego, however, stated that the deceased had an underlying medical condition which was aggravated by the virus.

He called on all Kenyans living in Saudi to take precaution as advised in an effort to remain safe.

Ogego said that this was the only way through which the Kenyan mission in Saudi would guarantee their safety.

The Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh had been temporarily closed in April. Consular services and other operations remained unavailable.

It followed a path taken by many Kenyan missions across the world in a bid to curb the spread of the disease to its staff and other people seeking services there.

Staff at the embassy have since been working online and some are on virtual duty call.

Their repatriation comes two weeks before Kenya’s international flights resume on August 1.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 6 announced that international flights will resume on August 1 while domestic flights resumed operations on Wednesday, July 15.

Since the pandemic, thousands of Kenyans appealed for repatriation from different parts of the world among them China, India, UK and Sudan.