Nearly two weeks ago, eight-year-old Abieda Paulse was swept away in the Vygieskraal canal in Athlone. She fell in after playing near the edge with some friends, and a local man jumped into the canal to find her.
On Monday, July 20, a young female body washed up on the banks of the Liesbeek River, and Abieda’s mother believes that this is the body of her little girl. This is yet to be confirmed as no DNA tests have been conducted on the body, but Malikah Paulse very clearly remembers what her daughter was wearing when she fell into the canal.
Abieda was wearing a pair of blue gumboots, a green raincoat, and a pair of jeans. This is also what the body little girl who washed up on the banks of the Liesbeek River was in when she was found.
“The police explained to me that DNA testing would be best to identify her because she is unrecognisable,” Malikah said to News24. “It’s not something I am looking forward to.”
The nephew of Yusuf Kiriboto, the man who leaped into the canal in an attempt to save Abieda on July 9, believes his uncle’s body has been found.
A male body was found in a Bokmakierie canal on Tuesday, July 21 – not far from where Kiriboto jumped in to save Abieda. Kiroboto’s nephew, Gegeidu Omari, believes the body found is his uncle’s, as the blue jeans and bomber jacket the body was floating in are identical to those of his uncle.
“I thought I had accepted that he was dead until I saw that body,” Omari said to IOL. “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 only child, who live in Tanzania.
“A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death and identity,” said South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk.
Malikah believes the body retrieved from the Liesbeek River is her daughter’s.
“I accept it,” she said.