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US diplomat flees Kenya after fatal accident

Pregnant widow of Kenyan killed in road accident left with no financial help as embassy rushes diplomat out of country.

Last Modified: 02 Aug 2013 22:25
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A state department spokeswoman said the US embassy (pictured) extends its deepest condolences [Al Jazeera]

A US diplomat in Nairobi who killed a Kenyan father of three in a car crash while speeding in his SUV was rushed out of the country by US embassy officials, Kenyan officials said.

Citing police, Kenyan officials said the diplomat crossed the centre line in his car on July 11 and hit a full mini-bus in the capital, killing Haji Lukindo and seriously wounding eight other passengers.

The injured were left with no financial aid to pay for hospital bills while the six-months-pregnant widow, Latifah Naiman Mariki, had no money for her husband's funeral.

Mariki, 38, was almost evicted from her house this week after her landlord demanded rent.

Mariki's husband was the family's only source of income. Mariki told the Associated Press news agency that neither the US driver nor anyone at the US embassy has contacted her.

She said she did not know how she would provide for her new baby and three children, aged 20, 10 and 7.

'Basic needs' 

"It is difficult for me to handle this matter because my kids need to go to school. They need everything, basic needs," Mariki said.

"And we have no place to stay because we have to pay the rent. We have no money. Even if my kids are sick I have no money to take them to hospital."

Hilary Renner, a State Department spokeswoman in Washington, said the embassy extended its deepest condolences to Mariki's family and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

She said she could not comment on whether the embassy employee would return to Kenya.

"The embassy is fully cooperating with the Kenyan authorities as they investigate the accident and work to aid the victims," she said.

The American, Joshua Walde, was an information management officer at the Nairobi embassy. He gave a statement to police but because he had diplomatic immunity he was not detained.

Shortly after the crash, Walde updated his work history on the networking site LinkedIn to put his time in Nairobi in the past tense, from July 2012 to July 2013.

A Facebook group set up after the crash noticed Walde's updated CV and pointed to that as evidence that Walde would not return to face charges or help victims. The LinkedIn account was then deleted, though a cached version is still available on the internet.

Walde's wife circulated an email to sell a family vehicle and try to find new work locations for the family's nanny and gardener after the crash.

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Source:
AP
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