THE 11-year-old Malaysian boy who grabbed national attention after losing both his legs this week from alleged abuse by a religious school warden, has died.
Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi passed away at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Hospital Sultan Ismail in the southern state of Johor on Wednesday afternoon, his father confirmed.
According to the New Straits Times, the father, Mohd Gaddafi Mat Karim, 43, said he was near his son’s bedside when the boy died at about 2.05pm.
“Thaqif did not regain consciousness,” he was quoted as saying.
“I was with my youngest child outside the ward when Thaqif died,” he said.
Thaqif’s legs were amputated after he was purportedly beaten with a water hose by an assistant warden at a tahfiz (Islamic boarding school) in the Kota Tinggi township in Johor.
Since April 19, doctors had struggled to save Thaqif’s affected legs after he contracted a bacterial infection. When his condition turned life-threatening, they had no choice but to amputate the legs.
The boy’s mother, Felda Wani Ahmad, 40, said both his legs were amputated on Friday after severe swelling and blood clots. She claimed the boy was beaten several times on both legs on several occasions in March.
Felda Wani said the boy had been enrolled at the school earlier this year, where he was initially happy.
She said she came to know about the abuses when her son had begged her to take him home as he couldn’t take the repeated assaults.
“On March 31, I visited my son and decided to bring him home as he looked very weak and worried,” she told reporters when met at a local hospital on Saturday, as quoted by The Star.
After taking him to hospital on April 19, Felda Wani said her son’s legs were removed during the first operation. The following day, the boy slipped into a coma. Several days after amputating the boy’s legs, doctors found the infection had also affected his right arm and made a desperate bid to save the limb.
The Star quoted his aunt Dzuraidah Ahmad, 38, as saying the boy entered the operating theatre at Hospital Sultan Ismail (HSI) again on Wednesday to have the arm removed after his fingers turned black due to damaged blood cells and tissue.
“The doctors told us the most important thing is saving the boy’s life and we trust them as they tried their level best to avoid cutting off his arm earlier,” she was quoted as saying.
“We want to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of his body and causing more problems.”
However, at the time of this publication, a report in the New Straits Times on Wednesday said doctors had postponed the arm amputation as the boy’s heart rate was unstable.
The incident grabbed national attention on Saturday after which the state’s royal consort, Johor Sultanah Raja Zarith Sofia Sultan Idris Shah, visited the boy at HSI.
Malaysian authorities said the 29-year-old assistant warden had been arrested. He had a criminal record for theft and was sentenced to 30 months’ jail some three years ago.
The suspect had reportedly whipped the boy and several of his peers with the water hose to punish them for misbehaviour.