On Wednesday (26th April), 11-year-old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi, whose legs were amputated due to alleged physical abuse at a private religious school in Kota Tinggi, has passed away at Hospital Sultan Ismail, Johor Bahru.
According to his father, Mohd Gaddafi Mat Karim, the schoolboy breathed his last around 2:05pm while they were reciting prayers for his recovery.
It was reported that the suspect of the alleged abuse is a 29-year-old assistant school warden who is an ex-convict. Kota Tinggi OCPD Supt Rahmat Othman said that suspect has a criminal record for theft and had served 30 months in jail. He was hired by the school in 2016.
Here’s a timeline of events leading up to Thaqif’s death:
- 24th March: Thaqif and 14 other boys were allegedly beaten with a water hose by an assistant warden. However, this is not the first time he was abused.
- 31st March: Felda Wani Ahmad, Thaqif’s mother, took him home after he begged her, saying that “he could not bear it anymore”. She also added that he looked “weak and worried”.
- 19th April: Felda Wani took Thaqif, who has been suffering from fever since he went home, to Hospital Sultan Ismail for treatment. Moreover, both of his legs swelled due to blood clots and infection.
(Note: Before going to the hospital, Thaqif had received traditional treatment.)
- 21st April: Both of Thaqif’s legs were amputated to stop severe infection to tissues and blood cells.
- 22nd April: Thaqif slipped into a coma and his right arm turned black due to bacterial infection. Johor Health, Environment, Education, and Information committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said that the hospital will carry out further investigation to find out if the boy is suffering from another illness. Meanwhile, police arrested the suspect to assist in the investigations.
- 23rd April: Although Thaqif’s right arm was slowly returning to its natural colour, his left shoulder showed signs of blood clots. Also, his kidneys were affected by the congealed blood.
- 25th April: Dzuraidah Ahmad, Thaqif’s aunt, said that she and her family found his diary. It was revealed that he was once punched in the buttocks after being told by the assistant warden to wash some mugs.
- 26th April: Doctors had to amputate Thaqif’s right arm as there was no improvement to the condition. He entered the surgery room at 8am but the operation was cancelled because his heart rate was not stable. At 2:05pm, he passed away. Police added that the suspect will be remanded until 29th April (Saturday) and the case has been reclassified under Section 302 (of the Penal Code) for murder.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police will be getting the full medical report from the hospital in order to complete their investigation. In a series of tweets, he said, “The police express our condolences to the family members of the deceased. The investigation of the case has been reclassified under Section 302 (of the Penal Code) for murder.”
Besides Khalid, DAP Vice Chairperson Teresa Kok took to Facebook to express her thoughts. She wrote, “So sad. The boy has died. According to the news report earlier, the suspect is an ex-convict. How can a school hire an ex-convict to be assistant warden? How come other teachers/adults did not intervene when the students were tortured?”
UPDATE (27th April):
The body of 11-year-old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi was buried at his family’s village in Felda Bukit Aping Timur, Kota Tinggi at 12:37am on Thursday (27th April).
According to The Star, roughly 30 students from Thaqif’s school came to pay their last respects to him at his grandparents’ place. One student said that the alleged abuser was very fierce.
In a Twitter post, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib has called on the authorities to speed up their investigation. He wrote, “I want the investigations into this case to be sped up and action taken under the law, if there is any offence.”
Besides that, Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and Johor Prmaisuri Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah took to Facebook to express their condolences over Thaqif’s tragic death. They said, “May his soul be blessed and may he be places among the good and the faithful.”
Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time. Rest in peace, Mohamad Thaqif 🙁
UPDATE (11th July, 11:30am):
In a report by NST, it was revealed that tahfiz school pupil Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi died of leptospirosis, complicated by skin necrosis, and a micro blood congealing condition known as mircothrombi.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the conditions led to a change of skin colour and subsequent organ failure. He said, “Results of the post mortem carried out showed that the tahfiz pupil died due to illness, and not trauma or injury as what was claimed in viral posts.”
He also added that the post mortem test was conducted at 6pm the day Thaqif died. Several tissue and blood samples were taken and sent to the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and to the Chemistry Department for analysis. The post mortem report was given to the police for further action.
Apparently, a Special Investigation Committee was set up to probe the case following the incident. The committee is made up of forensic consultant specialists who are vastly skilled and experienced in handling complicated cases.