Black Lives Matter Protesters Demand Justice for Shukri Yayhe-Abdi

BLM Protesters Demand Justice for Shukri Yayhe-Abdi

The Black Lives Matter movement that is currently gripping the globe and the UK has turned its attention to demand justice for Shukri Yayhe-Abdi, a young girl in Manchester who was a victim of racist bullies before she was tragically drowned.

Protests against racism have been staged all week with activists proclaiming that “the UK is not innocent” in terms of its treatment of black people and people of colour, and that police brutality and racism is not solely an American problem. 

Shukri Yahye-Abde
Shukri Yahye-Abde, a Somali refugee girl, was found drowned in the River Irwell, Bury. [Image: Family handout to Manchester Evening News.]

Activists are demanding an investigation be conducted and reopened into Shurki Yahya Abdi’s death, a refugee schoolgirl who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to Somalian parents. Shurki, a 12-year-old girl living in Bury, Greater Manchester, was found dead after drowning last June. It then emerged that she was being severely bullied. Her Mother, Zamzam Canab Ture, said staff at Broad Oak School did not take the complaints seriously. 

Shurki, a 12-year-old girl living in Bury, Greater Manchester, was found dead after drowning last June. It then emerged that she was being severely bullied.

In February an inquest heard how one of the children out of the four at the scene, two of whom may have been Shukri’s bullies, stood ‘laughing’ as the girl fought for her life in the river. Child Four, as he is known for legal reasons, jumped into the water in a bid to save Shukri, but couldn’t find her.

A new online petition is demanding Greater Manchester Police conduct a “full transparent investigation” around her death due to the alleged “failure to address incidents of bullying”. Police had previously stated they were not treating her death as suspicious. An inquest heard that Shukri drowned in the River Irwell, close to Bury town centre.

Black Lives Matter protest
Mum, Zamzam Canab Ture, said her daughter was being bullied. [Image: MEN Media/Metro.]

The police had implied the 12-year-old may have wanted to “cool off” in the river, yet Shurki’s family stated she couldn’t swim and was terrified of water. Her death was ruled an accident within two weeks of investigating. Following a complaint against GM Police that officers had ended the investigation prematurely and had treated relatives differently due to their ethnic background, the case was reopened by The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Shurki’s tragic death was acknowledged at Black Lives Matter protests in Birmingham, with protest organiser Sirad Arten stating: “We feel Shukri’s death was not dealt with accordingly.” 

Shukri protest
Black Lives Matter protests have been staged all across the globe in reaction to George Floyd’s death in the US. [Image: Eachother.]

Zamzam Ture fled a Kenyan refugee camp with Shurki and her three siblings before arriving in Bury in 2017. The family were resettled in the UK as part of the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme. 

Broad Oak School has been criticised for upholding a “culture of bullying” amongst students and staff. Human rights activist Bashir Ibrahim said: “What extra protections and support was given to this young girl and her family to help her acclimatise and integrate into the school? It’s not just about giving them housing. It’s about holistic care.”  

An inquest heard how one of the children out of the four at the scene who may have been one of Shukri’s bullies, stood ‘laughing’ as the girl fought for her life in the river.

Ibrahim added that Shurki was “failed” when alive and is “still being failed now she’s dead.” 

Somalian refugee girl drowned
Shukri was only 12 years old when she lost her life in the River Irwell, Bury. [Image: MEN Media].

Shukri’s family, activists and lawyers have been fighting for the case to be re-examined. Ayan Aden, an activist who assisted in organising protests to raise awareness and demand justice for Sukri, criticised the lack of consideration the government and local authorities have when resettling refugees.  

Aden labelled the authorities in the UK as “indifferent to her life.” 

As a vulnerable refugee, Shurki and her family arrived in Britain with the hope of a fresh start in a safe place, but all it brought was tragedy

Nimo Omer said: “The death of Sukri Yahya Abdi was a deadly cocktail of social issues.” 

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has since said he will “look into the case” after having received 6,000 emails about her death.

As a vulnerable refugee, Shurki and her family arrived in Britain with the hope of a fresh start in a safe place, but all it brought was tragedy. Recent years have seen horrific bullying in UK schools as bullies target refugee students, a deadly consequence as children and teenagers soak up the hostile language and behaviour towards refugees from our politicians, media and their communities. It’s innocent children like Shurki Yahya who are paying the price.