Woman stranded in Kenya gets no help from Ottawa

From the Toronto Star Jul 14, 2009 04:30 AM


Canadian officials in Kenya are keeping a Toronto woman in suspense over fingerprint results that could confirm her identity.

"When you are waiting for something, it’s too much actually," the woman said yesterday from Nairobi, where she has been in limbo for eight weeks – including eight days in jail – after being accused of not looking like her passport photo.

"I can’t wait to see my son," she said. "I really miss him bad."

After weeks of pleading, the woman identifying herself as Suaad Hagi Mohamud had her fingerprints taken at the Canadian high commission Thursday.

The prints, she said, will match those she gave 10 years ago when she entered Canada as a Somali refugee. Consular officials did not tell her when the results might be known, only that they would "be in contact very soon," the woman said.

Anxious to conserve cellphone minutes, she did not call the high commission yesterday, but plans to today if she hears nothing.

"I’m broke," she said.

"I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know if my (return air) ticket is still valid."

In Ottawa, media handlers said they had no idea what is happening.

Foreign affairs spokesman Daniel Barbarie said he has asked to be kept up to date on the case, but Canadian consular officials have sent him nothing.

He knows nothing about the fingerprint-checking process, he said. He could not even officially confirm the woman went to the high commission to be fingerprinted.

The foreign affairs minister’s spokeswoman said she, too, is being kept in the dark.

"I guess the officials will take the time they need, to do what they need to do," said Catherine Loubier.

Mohamud flew to Kenya from Toronto on April 29 to visit her sick mother, leaving her 12-year-old son with a neighbour.


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