By Usa Koto
Confirmation that there were no survivors in a small passenger plane that crashed in a mountaneous region of Kenya, Africa has sent a large Christian organisation in Fiji into mourning.
A missionary belonging to the Suva-based Christian Mission Fellowship International (CMFI), Pastor Sakaria Mataka and his son, Paula Mataka were among the eight passengers that perished in the crash on Wednesday this week.
Rescuers reached the crash site yesterday to relay the news back to Nairobi, capital of Kenya, that there were no survivors.
"The President and founder of CMF International, the executive board and the global church body are deeply saddened by the loss of CMF International missionary, Pastor Sakaraia Mataka and his 15-year old son, Paula Tekei Mataka who were passengers on the ill-fated Kitale to Nairobi flight," a statement from CMFI headquarters said.
"Pastor Mataka and his son Paula were travelling from their mission base in Kitale to Nairobi on their way to Fiji when the accident occured."
The church said the deceased was one of their first missionaries to Africa, serving largely with the normadic tribes of Masaai and Turkana in Kenya.
They are survived by wife and mum, Mrs Serafina Nacika and three children/siblings of Elisapeci Ramanu, 23, John Naitaka 6, and Suliana Garcia, 2.
The CMFI statement said both Pastor Mataka and his son would be buried in Kitale, in Kenya where he had served for more than 10 years among a people he had grown to love and call his own.
"CMF International church community in Africa is providing much needed comfort and support to the family in Nairobi at this time. The church is also liasing with the (Fiji) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the (mission) in Addis Ababa in relation to all the other details.
"A delegation from Fiji and other nations will attend the funeral in Africa."