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Somber mood engulfs Wajir as teenage boy drowns in Yahud dam

By Farah Adan:


Relatives, friends and concerned residents of Wajir town mill around the Yahud dam as the body of a teenage boy who drowned while trying to swim in the dam was retrieved on Monday afternoon.

Eid celebrations in Wajir town was today cut shot by another tragic incident at the famous Yahud dam near Wajir Military camp after a teenage boy drowned while trying to swim in the water body which has become a death trap.

It took a section of local residents more than four hours to retrieve body of the deceased from the dam known for its rocky service which traps victims to death.

Due to lack of expertise and necessary equipment, hapless relatives of victims normally resign to fate and wait for the body to be washed ashore.

The boy’s mother told Nep Journal her son left home in jovial mood for Eid prayers only for her to receive the shocking news from fellow teenagers who also went there to swim.

“I was worried with his long absence until when I was visited by a group of young boys who told me my son was trapped in Yahud dam, it was then that I raised the alarm and started efforts to retrieve his body” said the grieving mother.

The incident angered local residents who blamed the County government for downplaying the risk facing those who dare visit the only large water body in the town frequented by revelers as the area boasts no other major public attractions.

“Despite the fact that children frequent this dam during such occasions, we have never seen any preventive measures put in place by the County government. They should either seal it off, fill it up or put in place a rescue team and live saving equipment to save our children” said an angry mother who identified herself as Halima Mohamed.

Halima said even though parents discourage their children from visiting the dam, they sneak to the area without their knowledge and appealed to the government to deploy security personnel during public holidays to deter children.

Calls to have the dam fenced off or leveled to the ground have so far fallen on deaf ears.

The dam was drilled between 1978 and 1979 and has so far claimed more than 105 lives.

There are no settlements near the dam given its proximity to the military camp which is also home to the Wajir International Airport.

The dam is listed by the National Museums as an attraction in Wajir joining which is also home to other Sites and Monuments among them the Wagalla Massacre Site, Shaletey wells, monumental buildings, the British/Italian bunkers and Orpahey wells.

There are also other historical sites in Wajir including old homes built by Italian Prisoners and the old court house.

Most Wajir residents however do not appreciate these areas due to lack of publicity around their significance.

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