• Muhuri says parents and guardians are the major contributors to juvenile suicides in Mombasa.
• Activist fears that the boy might commit suicide, afraid that he might undergo another traumatic incident.
Police are looking for a Mombasa woman seen punishing her eight-year-old grandson by dangling him head down from the window of their fourth-floor house.
The woman, who is in her mid-50s, disappeared with the boy after noticing that somebody had seen her.
The bizarre incident happened on January 31 at a house in Bakarani, Kisauni.
Muhuri's gender and children officer Topister Juma was walking home when she heard the shrill cry of a child.
“As a mother, you know from the cry that something is terribly wrong,” she told the Star on Sunday.
“I decided to find out where the cry was coming. On looking up, I saw the boy hanging from the window with the woman, who I thought was the mother, holding his legs,” Juma said.
The human rights activist thought the boy had tried to jump from the window and that the ‘mother’ was trying to save him. But this was not the case – the boy was being punished for returning home from school with his uniform dirty and torn. He had not explained himself.
His 12-year-old sister appeared on the same window, laughing. It was she who explained later that the brother was not trying to jump from the window and that the grandmother was punishing him.
“I was angry. Why would anyone threaten a child by holding them upside down outside a window from the fourth floor of a building?” Juma asked.
She called the police, but the woman and the grandchild disappeared before they arrived.
The girl said their mother works in the Middle East and had left them with their grandmother.
County children's officer Philip Nzenge is aware of the incident.
“When such happens, it becomes a criminal offence and police need to be involved. The DCI will have to come in,” Nzenge said on phone yesterday.
Yesterday, Muhuri said that parents and guardians are the major contributors to increasing cases of juvenile suicide in Mombasa.
The lobby said parents and guardians are subjecting children to traumatising incidents. This left them psychologically disturbed and suicidal.
Juma said there are many cases of children committing suicide today and it is because parents are traumatizing the children.
She said the boy needs counselling because he could be traumatised.
“This boy could end up committing suicide, fearing that he might undergo another traumatic incident.”
The activist said there have been attempts by the woman’s family to settle the matter without involving the police or any other government agency.
“I have been receiving calls from people I don’t know asking why I involved police in this case which could have been solved in-house,” Juma said.
Last year, a 10-year-old boy committed suicide in June last year three blocks away.
He was playing football with his friends when he excused himself to go and drink some water at home.
His friends went to check on him after he had stayed away for a long time only to find him hanging from the roof. He had a necktie around the neck.
In July 2018, another 10-year-old boy was abducted from the same area. His body was found behind their house two days later stuffed in a sack.