Dead cult member to have Kenya autopsy

The family of a British woman who say she died after joining a cult in Kenya have won the right to exhume her body.

When Lutfunisa Kwandwalla died in 2020 at the house of a spiritual leader in Mombasa, officials blamed “natural causes” and no arrests were made.

But her family believe she was murdered and have won a court bid for a post-mortem in the hope of proving it.

“The court order is a victory for justice – it was touch and go,” her brother, Imran Admani, told the BBC.

“It was an emotional moment as well as a moment of joy.”

Ms Kwandwalla, 44, was from Leicester in the UK and arrived in Kenya as a tourist in August 2019 to visit members of her husband’s family, her brother said.

She was due to return to the UK several months later, but a coronavirus lockdown and travel restrictions prevented her from leaving Kenya.

During that time, she joined a controversial cult in the coastal city of Mombasa, according to her family.They allege she was killed and her body buried quickly to hide evidence.

Following last week’s ruling at a court in Mombasa, the Kenyan authorities must now exhume Ms Kwandwalla‘s body and conduct a post-mortem to confirm the cause of her death.

Nobody has been arrested in connection to the death and police records show that there are currently no active investigations.But Ms Kwandwalla’s family told the BBC that the autopsy was the first step in bringing them a sense of closure.

“The next stage to establish if it was foul play is to get to the body. Hopefully very soon we will get to know what happened to her,” Mr Admani said.

Authorities in Kenya are to exhume the body of a British tourist who died two years ago at the home of a controversial cult leader.

Ms Kwandwalla was buried in August 2020 at a cemetery in the coastal city of Mombasa after reportedly dying of natural causes.

She arrived in Kenya as a tourist in August 2019 but her return to the UK was delayed due to lockdowns imposed in Kenya and Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic. -BBC

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