Nephew breaks down as uncle’s body found in Athlone canal
Cape Town – When Yusuf Kiroboto’s nephew arrived at the scene where the body of an unidentified man was found floating in a canal near Bokmakierie, he fell to his knees and broke down in tears.
The discovery yesterday came a day after the body, believed to be of 8-year-old Abieda Paulse, was found in the Liesbeek River on the N2 outbound, under the M5 bridge.
Abieda and Kiroboto, understood to be 35 years old, were both presumed to have drowned about two weeks ago after being swept away by stormwater in a canal at the Vygieskraal settlement in Athlone.
The child fell in the water while playing next to the canal and Kiroboto had jumped in to save her.
As the Cape Times interviewed Abieda’s mother Malieka at their nearby home yesterday morning, the family received a call that a body believed to be Kiroboto’s was discovered, and told his family to rush to the scene.
City Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dayson said a City electricity department employee discovered the body at about 11.20am and alerted law enforcement officers of an adult male’s body floating in a canal near the N2 off-ramp.
Kiroboto’s nephew, Gegeidu Omari, said the blue jeans and bomber jacket the body was found floating in, were identical to those of his uncle. “I thought I had accepted that he was dead until I saw that body,” a distraught Omari said.
“My uncle was a very good swimmer, but above all had a big heart; hence he did not hesitate to try and rescue the child. These past two weeks have been hard for us, praying that both are found.”
Kiroboto is survived by his widow and child, who live in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, Abieda’s mother, Malieka said although she was unable to see the body at the Salt River Mortuary yesterday and confirm it was that of her daughter, she saw the clothes the child was wearing, and they were identical to those of Abieda. “I was able to identify her through the clothes they showed me at the morgue. I lost her birth certificate and I am in the process of trying to get another identity document.”
The Grade 2 pupil at Silverlea Primary School in Athlone was described by her aunt Fatiyah as happy and playful. “She was so confident and talkative; everyone in the street knew her. When baby clothes went missing in the house, she was always the first suspect because she loved to dress her teddy bear,” she said.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said an inquest docket had been opened by Athlone police and a post-mortem would be conducted to determine the cause of death and the identity of the deceased.