x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Pesticide spray investigated after baby boys die

Police fear two boys aged five months were killed by poisonous fumes sprayed outside their home.

The Bakari triplets, Suhail, Ali and Halla. two of the boys died on Saturday; Halla, right, is recovering in an Ajman hospital.
The Bakari triplets, Suhail, Ali and Halla. two of the boys died on Saturday; Halla, right, is recovering in an Ajman hospital.

AJMAN // Police are investigating whether two baby triplets were killed and their sister made ill by pesticides sprayed into their neighbours' flat. The five-month-old boys, Suhail and Ali Bakari, died on their way to hospital on Saturday, after the whole family developed stomach pains the day before. The third triplet, Halla, is recovering at Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, where her condition is said to be improving. Police are investigating the possibility the babies were killed by the pesticides used to fumigate their neighbours' flat in a building in Naeemiya on Thursday night. The initial findings of the investigation could be released as early as today, according to a senior prosecutor. Brig Ali Alwan, the director general of Ajman Police, said yesterday: "As soon as we learnt about this incident we asked both the families to vacate the premises and our investigation team moved in to get the evidence for our laboratory." Officers have seized the pesticides used by the extermination company and are questioning its owners, Brig Alwan said. The name of the company has not been released. The children's father, Hassan Bakari, a Palestinian, said the family began feeling ill on Friday. They drove themselves to Sheikh Khalifa Hospital where they were given medication before returning home, apparently feeling better. The triplets' condition deteriorated the next day, and the boys died as Mr Bakari was driving them back to the hospital. Halla was admitted to the intensive care unit, where she remained for two days. She is now being treated in the paediatrics ward. Hamad Taryam, the head of Ajman Medical Zone, said his team did all they could to save the boys' lives. Mr Bakari said the exterminators sprayed his neighbour's apartment near Safeer Mall on Thursday evening . "After this pest-control operation, we were all sick," he said. "The smell from the chemical was strong in our house as well, as if it was our house that the chemical had been sprayed. "The next day all my children were crying inconsolably like they had problems in their stomach; we were also having stomach pains and my wife was even vomiting." He said his neighbours kept away from their home after the pesticide was sprayed, but that his family was not warned about the dangerous chemicals. Mr Bakari does not blame his neighbours; he believes the pest control company is responsible for what happened to his family. Police evacuated and closed off both apartments for 24 hours after the deaths. Brig Alwan said both the company and Mr Bakari's neighbours were being questioned and the case had been referred to the Ajman Public Prosecution. An official from the prosecution office, who did not wish to give his name, said they hoped to announce the initial findings of investigations today. Mr Bakari said once the investigation was complete, he wished to bury his children in Abu Dhabi, alongside relatives. Municipal officials said pest-control firms are required to abide by strict safety regulations. They must provide a list of all the pesticides they use along with valid registration certificates issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water to show they fall within safety guidelines. ykakande@thenational.ae