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Puzzle of British tourist 'killed by devil' while holidaying in Kenya

A Mombasa court has ordered the body of a British tourist who died mysteriously in Mombasa exhumed.

Lutfunisa Khandwalla, 44, died on August 2, 2020 and was buried the following day at the Memon cemetery.

She met her death while visiting her husband’s relatives in Mombasa, where it was alleged the “devil” killed her as a spiritual leader tried to help her.

Her travel back to the UK was delayed following a lockdown ordered by the Kenyan government to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Senior Resident Magistrate Ritah Orora ordered the exhumation after Ms. Khandwalla’s family sued, citing foul play.

“Since the application is not opposed, it is hereby ordered that Khandwalla’s body be exhumed for a postmortem and extraction of samples [for toxicology and DNA tests] to ascertain the cause of death,” said the magistrate.

The magistrate also ordered the local police station commander to provide security during the exhumation.

The court also directed officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to be present at the site.

The family was allowed to hire a private pathologist to represent them in the exhumation and postmortem examination.

Ms. Khandwalla’s brother, Imran Admani, had requested the exhumation through his advocate Jacinta Wekesa.

The report about Ms. Khandwalla’s death was made at the Central Police Station on August 5 this year. In the report, Mr. Admani, who resides in Tanzania, asked the police to investigate his sister’s mysterious death.

Court documents show that Ms. Khandwalla died in the house where she was staying.

Mr. Admani wants the people who were with his sister in her final moments to be held as persons of interest.

“I am seeking an exhumation order, to perform an autopsy on the deceased to ascertain the cause of her mysterious sudden death and to help in further investigations,” he told the court.

He also asked that Mr. Arif Mohamed Iqbal, who was the occupant of the house where Ms. Khandwalla died, deposit his travel documents with the court until he was cleared by the DCI.

Mr. Iqbal is described in court documents as a religious and spiritual leader and a seer who receives revelations from unnamed prophets.

Mr. Admani said the swiftness of his sister’s burial after the family was notified of her death had raised suspicions and they want a postmortem conducted to confirm what killed her.

“On August 3, 2020, while the nearest family members who were based in Dar es Salaam prepared to attend the burial, they were informed that the deceased had already been buried at 11am of the same day,” he said.

He said the family was informed that Ms. Khandwalla had died in the house and that the devil had killed her. The court also heard that not even her close family members got the opportunity to attend the burial.

Court documents show that Ms. Khandwalla’s family has a recording from people who were with her in her last moments admitting to killing her.

“The conduct of the people who were with the deceased during her final moments raises many concerns about the circumstances leading to her death,” he said.

The family said they were also surprised that no report was made about Ms Khandwalla’s death, which happened after the Ministry of Health had issued guidelines requiring families to report deaths when they occurred.

The family questioned the authenticity of a death certificate issued on September 30 that indicated Ms Khandwalla died of cardiopulmonary arrest.

The family wants to know how this finding was reached without an autopsy on her body.

“The hurried burial of the deceased without allowing her family members to attend the burial and view the body has brought pain and anguish to the family who deserves to know what killed her,” Mr Admani told Ms. Orora.

The family gave the police information including videos, recordings, and several statements that will aid the investigations.

Mr. Admani moved to court after police advised him to get orders to exhume his sister’s body so that the cause of her death could be ascertained.

He said his attempt to get more information from those who were with his sister had been unsuccessful, forcing him to seek the court’s intervention.

“At the time of her death, she was in good health and had no medical condition that would put her life in danger at any given time. My calls to find out what happened to her were ignored,” he said.

Mr. Admani cited alleged leaked information from persons of interest.

“In these leaked conversations, the people involved possess so much hate towards my sister, accusing her of making a mockery of Allah, calling her a witch, satanic, and blaming her for most of their misfortunes,” he said.

Prosecutors supported the exhumation, saying it would help them make appropriate decisions.

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