x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Live wire that killed boy, 7, was used to steal power

Thief ran illegal cable through a children's play area, killing a seven-year-old boy as he played with his father.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // The live electricity wire that killed a seven-year-old boy as he played ball with his father was connected to a lamppost to steal power, it was revealed yesterday.

Ahmad Saleh, the attorney general of the RAK courts, promised that the person responsible would be brought to justice. "The investigation will not end until there is a criminal found," he said.

Moyachery Safvan died nearly three weeks ago when he stepped on the wire, which was half buried in sand. It was connected illegally to the lamppost to power a floodlight for a nearby volleyball court, and ran through a popular children's play area near Moyachery's home.

"Technical reports show there was a theft of the electrical stream," Mr Saleh said.

"The thief did it in an insecure way so that the boy died when he touched the wire.

"All of this was because of the theft. We don't know who is responsible. He is probably one of the users of the playground so we are waiting for the investigation report to show who plays there.

"It is very important for the case to remain open because it is the case of a child's blood."

The Public Prosecutor has mounted a full investigation with police but there is no indication of how long it could take. The case could remain open for years if a suspect is not arrested, Mr Saleh said.

Naseer Veeran, 38, a close family friend who works with Moyachery's father and witnessed the little boy's death, supported the decision to continue the investigation.

"It's a good idea. I don't want people to do something like this again," he said. "There are too many dangerous places like this, but RAK is getting better and safer than before."

Friends called for authorities to inspect neighbourhood sand pitches, dozens of which are used by families across the city.

"At the moment we do not know about other areas but if it happens in one area, it can happen in others too," said Mohamed Abubaker, principal of Scholars Indian School, where Moyachery was in grade two.

Mohammad al Asam, the general manager of the RAK municipality, called on the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) to inspect fields for security.

"The police should contact Fewa to inspect these fields and cut the electricity if it is not safe," Mr al Asam said.

"We have no authority to cut off the power supply. This responsibility lies with the owner and Fewa."

Sandra Fernandes, the school counsellor, said the boy's death could have a long-term impact on pupils.

"He was a good child and we are very sad to lose him," she said. The entire staff attended his funeral and students received counselling."

Several neighourhood boys were present when the boy died.

"My friends saw this boy die," said Ali Awad, 18, a Yemeni who lives with his family beside the pitch. "They are afraid. Babies go and play in this field."

Children in the area have had play restricted to concrete courtyards since the tragedy.

"This area of town has too many wires," said Abdulrahman Abdulla, 25, an Emirati policeman who lives in a house by the pitch with his family of 13 children.

"The municipality did a good job of the Corniche park but there are no parks near this area. Kids play in this pitch from four years old."

Six of his nephews played with their teddy bears on the dusty concrete of the family courtyard, the only outdoor area that the family now considers safe.

Mohamed al Baluoshy, 36, a policeman raised in the area, said the Government must create more secure play areas for children.

"If anyone asks for a piece of land, the Government will give them a house," said the father of two.

"Now they have to start thinking about children. Even in the new areas there are no parks. In RAK there are not a lot of places for children to go."

RAK has two popular parks, but sand pitches are often the most popular and accessible play areas.

Dozens were illuminated before Ramadan and remain connected to electrical sources through flimsy wiring. Public beaches are unsupervised.

Abdul Basit and Abdul Hamid Rashid, 15-year-old twins from Afghanistan, join their younger brother and friends each night for football at a sand pitch at the beach opposite the accident site.

A tangle of open wires and extension cords connected to a generator lights the pitch for big matches.

"For us these places are good, at least we can play," Abdul Hamid Rashid said.

"We come almost every day for football. For six or seven months we are playing here and we didn't see anything dangerous. We think it's safe."

azacharias@thenational.ae