Zanzibar. It is still unclear of what happened to four children, who were found dead in a car on Sunday night. It appears that they suffocated, although parents still want answers.
The children, who were all aged 2 years, were found in the car parked in a parking lot in Jang’ombe, Unguja Urban Region, the police say.
Speaking to reporters yesterday at his Mwembe Madema office, Unguja Urban West regional police commander (RPC) Hassan Nassir Ali named the dead children as Haytham Mustafa Abubakar, Muslim Hamza Bakar, Dodo Mohamed Malali and Munawar Ahmed Khamis, all from Jang’ombe in Unguja Urban.
Haytham’s mother, Ms Amina Mohamed Haroun expressed her grief to The Citizen. “I don’t know what to say. I really don’t know what happened. What hurts me most is that we had gone near the vehicle, but we didn’t see them inside,” she said. Ms Haroun lost her son and nephew Dodo. She asked the police to investigate the incident.
She is not the only one with questions. Ms Maryam Juma Mohamed, a neighbour, said the children were playing nearby. They even started fighting at some point, as children normally do. “We separated them and rebuked them not to fight against each other. Then they left and went to play somewhere else. We didn’t worry about them because it was a normal thing for children to move from street to street and go home later,” she noted.
She explained that it took about three hours from the time they were first seen at 8am for their parents to start being worried. The neighbours joined the families to look for them, including going to the police.
“We did everything until late at night, but we couldn’t find them. At some point, when we were at the car yard, we heard a voice telling us that the children were inside a red car. We were scared. But when we went to the car, the children were really there, but found with foam at their mouths. They were dead,” she said.
The RPC confirmed that the parents went to report to Ng’ambo Police Station about the missing children. They worked together to look for the children until 7.30pm, when they got a report that the children had been found dead in the car. “When they were found, they were rushed to Mnazi Mmoja Hospital for postmortem. Their bodies were expected to be handed over to their parents for burial,” said the RPC. However, he noted that the police expected to interrogate the owner of the parking lot, including the owner of the car to know more about the incident.
Mnazi Mmoja Hospital doctor on duty, who received the four children, Dr Makame Zubeir Chinjo, said the children died of suffocation.