Authorities have declared the drowning of Shukri Abdi, the 12-year-old Somali refugee killed in the UK last year, as an accident.
A coroner opened an investigation into the child’s death following an eruption of protests around the world seeking justice. Shukri Abdi drowned in River Irwell in June 2019, in the presence of several schoolchildren, after having a history of being bullied at her school. Her mother believed that she was intentionally pushed by her schoolmates to drown.
Over the course of the investigation, the four schoolchildren who were with her shortly before her death were interviewed. One of the children admitted to having pushed Shukri Abdi into the river, but the coroner deemed that her ultimate drowning due to her inability to swim was an accident.
Based on the testimony of one of the schoolchildren, while they were aware that Shukri could not swim, the child brought Shukri to the river and offered to help her in the water. When the child led them into deeper water, Shukri struggled and tried to hold onto the other child, who let Shukri go and swam back to the bank. She said Shukri did not come back up from the water.
It’s important to note that differing accounts have been reported by the Guardian. While the child that pushed her gave a testimony that she was in the water with Shukri and the other children were crying and in panic about their inability to help her, a paramedic that responded to the scene testified that the classmates’ clothing was dry and she did not see them in any state of distress, making her wonder if they had tried to save Shukri Abdi at all.
Shukri Abdi came to the UK with her mother and siblings after fleeing the conflict in Somalia. Shukri’s family’s attorney is considering a judicial review of the coroner’s ruling.