A year ago, a 12-year old girl from Somalia, Shukri Abdi, drowned in Manchester’s River Irwell. Shukri was at the river with four classmates.
Shukri and her family came to the UK as refugees in 2017 as they fled conflict as part of the UN’s vulnerable person resettlement scheme.
In February, the beginning of the inquest into Shukri’s death heard that one of Shukri’s classmates “laughed for two minutes while she died” and that the same pupil told her, “If you don’t get into the water, I’m going to kill you.”
Hours after young Shukri’s death, the Greater Manchester police ruled out any suspicious circumstances surrounding the drowning and described it as merely a “tragic incident”.
Shukri’s uncle Mustaf Omar spoke out and said, “She was a sweet, innocent child. Her mum is absolutely destroyed. Everything about it is out of character for her. She couldn’t swim so she wouldn’t even go near the edge.”
The inquest heard statements from the four classmates involved which suggested that the incident was not the tragic accident following a friendly outing as described by police.
Instead, the outing was a “coincidence” and when Shukri changed her mind about going, one child became “angry and pissed off” and “started pushing Shukri around and told her to get changed.”
Shukri was described as “a bit worried, scared” and two of the children as “horrible” and “a bit nasty”.
The inquest also heard that the classmates involved had a history of using racist language like “coloured” and “half-caste”.
At the school they attended, Bury Oak Sports College, a teacher committed suicide in 2015 after suffering “strategic bullying”.
Alarms were also raised on several occasions that Shukri was being bullied by classmates.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) opened an investigation following complaints that Greater Manchester police officers “failed to conduct an effective investigation and prematurely concluded that the death of Shukri Abdi was not suspicious”.
Other failings include only taking statements from two of the four children involved.
As the inquest has been paused for now, many of us are looking for ways to help get Justice for Shukri.
Here are ways you can help:
Signing petitions via change.org – This one calls for an investigation to be launched into the culture of bullying at the offending high school and this one calls for police justice.
Donating – You can also donate to this Go Fund Me page which is raising money for the Abdi family
Calling on MPs – You can also write to your local MPs and demand they fight for justice. Find out who your local MP is here if you don’t know.