A Kenyan family in Masaba South Sub-County, Kisii County, were shocked after their son Vincent Oyugi showed up on Tuesday, a month after they had buried a body presumed to be his.
Mr Oyugi, who lives in a rented house in the outskirts of Narok Town, was believed to have died in an accident in Ewaso Nyiro, Narok County, last August, Daily Nation reports.
A pick-up delivering vegetables to a local market veered off the road and rolled several times, killing three fellow workers, with whom he had been harvesting cabbages in a nearby farm, on the spot.
But it was after nearly two months that family members, among them his father Mr Oyugi, got wind that their son might have died in the accident after he delayed to return home.
“He had also been informed by someone who was at the scene that his son Vincent was among those who had boarded the pick-up and might have died in the accident alongside the three others,” his mother Eunice Oyugi told the Nation at Riamakanda, a 10-minute drive from Keroka Town, on Wednesday.
According to Daily Nation, the devastating news sparked off funeral arrangements, which culminated in the collection and burial of a body thought to be Mr Oyugi’s on December 4.
Ms Oyugi said the autopsy and identification of the body was done at the Narok County Hospital before they were granted permission to take it for burial.
However, she added, no DNA tests were done to ascertain if the body belonged to their kin.
“The body was in bad shape and we were convinced that it belonged to my son, so we proceeded to make burial arrangements, upon which we buried him on 4th December last year,” Ms Oyugi recalled.
Late Tuesday, the man who had been presumed dead walked into the compound, to the consternation of family and neighbours.
“I was at the farm planting maize when I received a call from my husband that our son was alive,” said Ms Oyugi as she wiped a tear of joy from her eyes. “I was at a loss whether to cry or laugh because I could not figure that the person we had buried was not my son.”
At first she could not come to terms with the news as she was still recovering from the shock.
“I had to go through the birthmarks to ascertain if, truly, he was my son,” said the mother of six.
Mr Oyugi however said he had all the while been at his residence in Narok and was not aware that his family was looking for him.
“It is true I was in the vehicle but I jumped out shortly before it rolled,” said Mr Oyugi. “I got a scratch but walked away shocked and did not come back to the scene.
“Perhaps this led to the conclusion that I had died.”
On January 1, Mr Oyugi went to check on his brother Dismas, who also lives in Narok. Fearing that he had seen a ghost, his brother ran for cover leaving him in awe.
“I am happy to be back among my family and thank God for that,” said the first-born child.
The elder Oyugi was yet to return from Narok to meet his son but Mr Oyugi’s uncles Mose Ombeche and Samuel Ombogo, said the news of the ‘resurrection’ had shocked them.
“In such circumstances, he would not be allowed home until certain rites are conducted,” said Mr Ombogo. “We will have to first buy a white cock or white goat.
“They ( white cock or goat) will be slaughtered and eaten by the family to cleanse him. When the body that is buried here is exhumed, we will put the innards of the white goat into the grave to cleanse the family.”
Area chief Albert Michira said he had asked the family to obtain a court order to exhume the body for burial by the rightful family.
Watch a video of the family reunion below: