Killer Tharaka-Nithi rivers claim lives of 8 pupils in three weeks

River Kathita

Rescuers search for bodies of two girls who drowned in River Kathita in Tharaka-Nithi. Another three girls drowned in the river on October 16, 2022.

Photo credit: Alex Njeru | Nation Media Group

Three girls drowned on Sunday evening in Kathita River in Tharaka-Nithi County, bringing to eight the number of primary school pupils who have drowned in Tharaka constituency in the last three weeks.

Confirming the 6 pm incident, Nkondi location chief David Kithaka said the deceased, who had gone to fetch water from the river, decided to swim when the tragedy struck.  

He said two of the girls were in Grade Six at Kiorimba Primary School while one was in Grade Three and Rwatha Primary School.

“Three primary school girls from Rukurini Sub-Location on Sunday evening drowned in Kathita River while swimming,” said Mr Kithaka.

He said the bodies were retrieved by local divers and taken to Marimanti Level Four Hospital mortuary.  

Mr Kithaka said the three girls left their homes in the company of their mothers. However, as their mothers stopped to speak to other women who were coming from church, the girls rushed to the river.

 “When the women arrived at the river and could not find their daughters, they mounted a search only to find the girls’ shoes by the river bank,” he said.

He said the women called for help from the residents who retrieved the minors’ bodies from the river.  

Last Sunday, two 13-year-old Class Seven and Class Six girls drowned in Kithino River in the same constituency.

Three weeks ago, three children aged 13, 12 and 10 from Gakuyu Primary School in Kirukuma Sub-Location in the same constituency also drowned in Kathita River. 

The pupils had travelled for several kilometres to Gituma Sub-Location to look for water to wash their school uniforms. All three incidents happened on Sunday.

Tharaka Member of Parliament Gitonga Murugara has called on the parents to ensure that their children do not go to the river unaccompanied by adults.  

“Parents should always accompany their children to the river to avoid such incidents,” the legislator said.   

The residents are now urging religious leaders to pray for the community.


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