A Canadian woman stranded in Kenya on charges of identity fraud was reunited with her 12-year-old son in Toronto on Saturday, ending a three-month ordeal she described as a "nightmare."


Suaad Hagi Mohamud, left, embraces her 12-year-old son Mohamed Hussein upon arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Saturday. ((Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press))

"My boy, my boy," Suaad Hagi Mohamud said as she embraced her son Mohamed Hussein amid a throng of relatives and reporters at Pearson International Airport.

"You can't imagine, I'm really happy to come back, I'm really, really happy to come home," Mohamud reporters. "I'm glad my own nightmare is over."

Mohamud made no other comment and was quickly ushered away with the help of two police officers escorting her as the crowd of supporters cheered and applauded her.

Meanwhile, Mohamud's Kenyan lawyer vowed to launch a lawsuit over her three-month ordeal.

Mohamud, 31, had been unable to leave Kenya since May, when local authorities said her lips did not look the way they did in her four-year-old passport photo.

Canadian consular officials called her an impostor, voided her passport and urged Kenyan officials to prosecute her. She was charged on May 28 with identity fraud.

On Friday morning — after a DNA test had proved she was who she said she was — a Kenyan judge agreed to drop the charges, which included using another person's passport and being in Kenya illegally.

Mohamud boarded a plane Friday from Nairobi to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. On Saturday she continued her journey home aboard a KLM flight to Toronto.

But while she was no longer in Kenya, Mohamud's Kenyan lawyer said his client would be taking legal action.

"To subject her to the kind of malicious prosecution [she was] is uncalled for, and we shall be taking action against the Canadian government, the Kenyan government and KLM," Naikuni said on Friday.

'No impediments to her return'

ATS, a courier company in Toronto, said it was holding Mohamud's job as an overnight mid-level supervisor at its sorting plant for when she returns.


A photocopy of Suaad Hagi Mohamud's passport photo. ((CBC))

Foreign Affairs said in a release on Friday that Mohamud was being assisted with her departure.

"There are no impediments to her return to Canada," a news release from Foreign Affairs said.

"Nothing should be such a nightmare, but I'm really relieved," Boulakia said. "It's been up and down, this whole process — a lot of moments that were very anxious — and I'm really relieved that she's finally coming home."

Mohamud's ordeal began when she tried to leave Kenya after a two-week visit with her mother in May.

Officials maintained she was not who she claimed to be, even after Mohamud handed over numerous pieces of identification, offered fingerprints and finally demanded that her DNA be tested.

It wasn't until the DNA test confirmed her identity on Monday that Canadian officials began preparing emergency travel documents for her return.

Misplaced letter delayed Friday hearing

Mohamud's hearing Friday was initially delayed because a letter from the Canadian High Commission confirming her identity had been misplaced.

After the document was found, the judge made the decision to drop the charges, Foreign Affairs said.

Earlier in the day, Mohamud declined to comment on the court's decision, saying she just wants to get home now.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised the federal government will investigate how the Canada Border Services Agency handled the case.

"Our first priority as a government is obviously to see Ms. Mohamud get on a flight back to Canada," Harper said in a statement on Friday. "This is what the government is currently doing."

But Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff slammed the Harper government's handling of the case, saying it raises troubling questions about whether the Conservatives are willing to step up for Canadians who get into difficulty overseas.

"Time after time and case after case, they let Canadians down," Ignatieff told CBC News on Friday in an interview from Summerside, P.E.I.

With files from The Canadian Press