Police investigating suicide at Butere Girls

Police are investigating the circumstances under which a Form Three student at Butere Girls High School in Kakamega was found dead in her bed in what was suspected to be suicide.

Elizabeth Musoi Muunya, 17, is reported to have hung herself in the dormitory while her classmates were writing exams. Her body was found on her bed.

Area OCPD Boniface Lisiolo said she had written a note to her sister who was her guardian reading: “Forgive me my sister for what I have done. I want to join mum and dad in heaven. I had to do this because I could not bear being sent home for a petty offence.” 

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Sources at the school claim that the whole incident remained undisclosed to the students and workers until the body had been taken away.

“It was during impromptu evening assembly when we were told that Elizabeth had died and we were all surprised as she was jovial in the morning,” said a source who did not want to be named.

Journalists were locked out of the school premises as Principal Jennifer Omondi remained silent on the death.

She said the matter was being handled by the police and she was not in a position to comment. Cases of students suicide in school and colleges in Kenya have been blamed on poor examination performance and personal family issues.

Maximila Okello, a child protection officer and therapist in Bungoma, said the rising cases of  suicide in schools could be from lack of connection between the students and their teachers and parents.

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Okello also blamed punishments that are administered without teachers giving the students a chance to explain themselves.

“When a student thinks of suicide, she must have gone through mental torture and that no one was willing to listen to even after they had showed signs,” said Okello. Butere Girls have dismissed claims that Elizabeth was undergoing disciplinary issues.

She was an orphan under the care of her sister and the reason for taking her life is currently being treated as personal distress.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists suicide as the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.  

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicate that the number of suicides reported in Kenya rose by 58 per cent between 2008 and 2017.

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World Health OrganisationButere Girls High SchoolKNBSKenya National Bureau of Statistics