School girl dies by suicide in Kisii after caning by the area chief

Bonareri Otuke, 18, was rushed on a hospital in Keroka town on Thursday, July 4 and succumbed on Saturday, July 6.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation

Police in Kisii are investigating the death of a student who allegedly took her own life after she was reportedly punished by an assistant chief.

The administrator of Amabuko area of Nyaribari Masaba Constituency, is said to have caned the Form One student because of her refusal to attend school. The incident happened slightly more than a week ago in the chief’s office.

The girl had been reported to the assistant chief’s office by her parents.

According to Masaba South Sub-county Police Commander Robert Kibuchi, the deceased, Joyce Bonareri Otuke, left a note in which she blamed the assistant chief for her action.

“We are heavily relying on that note to help with us with the investigations. It is an unfortunate incident that has befallen a recently installed government officer,” the police boss told Nation.Africa in a phone interview.

The suicide note was written in Ekegusii, English and Kiswahili languages and seen by Nation.Africa, the deceased made peace with her maker, blamed the administrator for her death and then stated her wishes.

“I have decided to follow Jesus. Kwa hayo yote umenitendea, uzidi kubarikiwa. Sasa umenichapa mbele ya baba, uncle na watu wengine – (For all that you have done to me, continue receiving blessings. You have caned me in front of my father, uncle and other people),” -  read part of the note.

The deceased further explained how she endured a horrendous ordeal and extreme embarrassment at the chief’s office when she was being punished.

She claimed she was called all sorts of names and told that she had an insatiable appetite for visiting boys’ houses.

The late added that her punishers even went to the extent of using a local shrub that stings to inflict more pain on her.

Before taking her life, the 18-year-old mother of one is said to have bid her one-year-old child goodbye.

She pleaded with her mother to take good care of her child and asked mourners to attend her burial ceremony in their numbers.

"Dear child, stay at peace. Take good care of my child. I am not the first to pass on," the note said.

Ms Otuke was rushed on a hospital in Keroka town on Thursday, July 4 and succumbed on Saturday, July 6.

Her body is being preserved at the same facility awaiting postmortem.