Families cry for justice in death of 2 students - Daily Nation

Families cry for justice in death of two students

Friday March 15 2019

Ebby Noel Samuels

Ebby Noel Samuels whose family is trying to come to terms with her death. She was a student at Gatanga CCM Girls High School in Murang’a County. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By GEORGE MUNENE
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By LILYS NJERU
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A lost life. Many questions. No answers. That’s the position of two families in Nairobi and Embu counties who lost their children in unclear circumstances.

In Riruta, Nairobi, the family of Ebby Noel Samuels, 15, is still trying to come to terms with the sudden death of their daughter, who was a student at Gatanga CCM Girls High School in Murang’a County.

POSTMORTEM

The mother, Ms Martha Wanjiru, is overwhelmed by emotion as she narrates how she arrived at a hospital in Thika following a call from the school only to find her daughter dead.

“On Saturday morning, I received a text asking me to call the school. When I called back, the school principal picked and requested that I urgently go to Naidu Hospital in Thika,” she says.

There, her daughter lay on a stretcher, already dead. She was not even booked in at the hospital.

Ms Wanjiru says the school told her that on the fateful morning, her daughter failed to attend morning classes. The students alerted the matron who found her in bed struggling to breath. She was rushed to hospital.

“The school administration said that a day before she met her untimely death, she had complained of chest pains. My daughter wasn’t sick when she went back to school after midterm break,” Ms Wanjiru told Nation.

The postmortem conducted on March 11 by three pathologists at Montezuma morgue showed she died as a result of head injury caused by a blunt object.

INTERROGATED

Murang'a County Police boss Joseph Kinyua told the Nation that although they have opened an inquest to the death of the student, preliminary investigations have revealed that the student had fallen from her decker bed on January 28 and there was no foul play suspected.

"Several students from her dormitory have disclosed that she fell off her bed at night but the matter was not brought to the attention of the administration since there were no injuries," Mr Kinyua said.

The family seeks answers into her death. She will be buried today.

In Embu, a secondary schoolteacher was Thursday questioned by police in connection with the death of a student in the county.

The teacher was summoned to Embu West Police Station, interrogated for hours and then released on police bond.

Area police boss Julius Meli confirmed that the teacher based at Kang’aru Boys Secondary School had been quizzed and could face a murder charge if postmortem examinations reveal that the student died after he was caned.

“A postmortem examination will be performed on the body to ascertain if he was physically assaulted or not,” said Mr Meli. The school principal, three students and relatives of the deceased have recorded statements at the station and they will be prosecution witnesses if the teacher is arraigned in court.

The Form Three student identified as Kennedy Bundi, 18, succumbed to injuries inflicted on him while undergoing treatment at Nairobi Women Hospital where he was taken after his condition worsened.

CANING

Following the death of the boy on Sunday, his guardian is now crying for justice. "I have even reported the matter to the local police station and recorded a statement. I want justice," the boy's guardian, Ms Irene Ruguru, said.

It was on February 28 when Bundi arrived in class late and his teacher allegedly started caning him as a disciplinary measure.

During the punishment, the student was struck on the knee and sustained a fracture after which he was rushed to Tenri Hospital where he was treated and discharged. Later, his condition worsened and he was again treated at Embu Level Five Hospital and then referred to Nairobi Women Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment.

The boy had passed his primary school examinations well and was admitted to the school under the sponsorship of Equity Bank because his guardian could not afford to educate him.

"His parents died when he was very young and I had been looking after him. He grew up as a bright boy. When he passed the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination, he was admitted to Kang’aru," said Ms Ruguru.

County director of Education James Kariuki said a committee had been formed to establish the circumstances under which the boy died.

"We have set up a committee to carry out the probe after which a comprehensive report will be compiled," he said.

Additional reporting by Ndungu Gachane.