NEWS

10-Year-Old Recounts Tragedy to Bhatnagar

I wanted to hold my brother’s hand, but I missed. This is what 10-year-old Mohammed Azar said, as he relayed the traumatic experience that led to the drowning of his younger
30 Mar 2017 11:13
10-Year-Old Recounts Tragedy to Bhatnagar
The body of four-year-old Mohammed Armaan (in a body bag) being transferred by Police officers to a waiting vehicle yesterday. Photo: Josaia Ralago

wanted to hold my brother’s hand, but I missed.

This is what 10-year-old Mohammed Azar said, as he relayed the traumatic experience that led to the drowning of his younger siblings in the Labasa River.

Azar, who is recovering at the Labasa Hospital, did not say much when a team from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation visited him yesterday.

Assistant Minister Veena Bhatnagar, who led the team applauded the boy for his bravery.

“He was telling me that ‘When I was in the water, I held onto the back of the boat, and I tried to save my brother (Mohammed Aiyan, aged seven), I stretched  out my arms to hold him but I missed’. He spoke about it even though we did not ask him,”  Ms Bhatnagar said.

The body of his father, Mohammed Khaiyum and two siblings, Mohammed Arman, 4, and one-year-old sister Ahana Khaiyum were found between 9am to 11am in the Labasa River yesterday during a search by Police officers.

Body of one year old Ahana was found this morning. Photo: Josaia Ralago

Body of one year old Ahana was found yesterday morning. Photo: Josaia Ralago

Mohammed Aiyan’s body was found on Tuesday morning by a member of a public along the river stretch between Nacula and Naqai settlements.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said: “We are able to now confirm that four children were allegedly thrown into the Labasa River by their 38-year-old father on Monday night.

“The 10-year-old victim who survived the incident has stated that his father had allegedly thrown his two brothers aged 7 and 4 and their one-year-old sister into the Labasa River.”

The mother, Kaisiro Khaiyum, who is understood to have been in Police protective custody made an appearance to the Labasa Hospital yesterday to visit her son, Azar.

Azar who was playing with some of his toys on his hospital bed had a bandaged right leg when the Fiji Sun team caught up with him yesterday.

At the time, he had not been made aware of the death of his siblings and father.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: josaia.ralago@fijisun.com.fj



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