Friday July 5, 2019
Shukri Yahya Abdi drowned in a river in Bury. Her family have rejected a police finding that her death was accidental. Photograph: MEN Media
The family of a 12-year-old refugee schoolgirl who drowned in a river in Bury have called for further investigation into her death, and claimed police were not fully cooperating with them.
Shukri Yahya Abdi’s mother, who moved to the UK with her family from Somalia more than two years ago, said her daughter had been badly bullied for months.
Zamzam Canab Ture said: “If the rights we came to the country for exist, I want something done”, in a video released on social media. She has rejected a police finding that her daughter’s death, in the River Irwell, was an accident and said she was being “denied the truth”.
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Broad Oak sports college is reviewing its anti-bullying policy and says it is working with the family. The headteacher, Paul Greenhalgh, said: “We are currently working with Shukri’s family in respect of any concerns which have been raised about the school.
“As the school was taken into the Oak Learning Partnership multi academy trust in April of this year, the trust leadership under CEO, Elaine Parkinson, will be reviewing all policies and procedures at the school, in particular we will focus on the school’s anti-bullying policy and procedures and other policies relating to the welfare of children.”
Ture said she went to the school many times to complain about other pupils taunting her daughter. Ture, who has four other children, added she had not received any support since her daughter’s death. “I haven’t been helped. No one has done anything for me,” she said.
Mustaf Omar Mohamed, Shukri’s cousin, told 5Pillars, a Muslim community website on Thursday, that she was a timid, vulnerable girl. “She was probably [seen] as an easy target. She wanted to make friends, she wanted to get along with people. That just made her vulnerable,” he said. He also spoke of her sweet nature and how happy she made everyone around her.
“She was a credit to everyone around her. She was strong in her faith and helped her mum out when she needed. She just put a smile on everyone’s face when she was around,” he said.
“We want the police to give us full cooperation.” He added: “We are not getting the answers and support we deserve from the police and the school.”
Greenhalgh said he had visited the family home and planned to visit again. He paid tribute to Shukri, describing her as a “lovely young girl, always smiling, always wanting to please people and worked hard”. He added: “She had a beautiful personality and a loving and supportive family. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are now with the family at this time and we will be supporting them and all our children through this difficult period.”
Family members and supporters will hold a protest outside the school on Friday to “unite and share our concerns for the safety of our children”.
A petition calling for an investigation into whether the school failed to properly address bullying has amassed over 20,000 signatures and a crowdfunding effort to support Abdi’s family and help towards funeral costs has raised over £5,000.
Greater Manchester police has said it does not believe the death to be suspicious.
DI Andrew Naismith said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident in which a young girl has lost her life, and my thoughts are with her family at this devastating time.
“We have a team of detectives working on this, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this time.” He added that specially trained officers were supporting the child’s family.