SHARJAH // Obaida Al Aqrabawi was a smart, vibrant and active boy who took it on himself to be a leader, his teachers say.
And like most eight-year-old boys, he was a little mischievous but his teachers loved him for the “little man” he was.
Obaida’s body was found dead on Sunday morning under a tree on Academic City Road in Dubai’s Al Warqa. He had been strangled and there were signs of sexual assault.
A Jordanian man, 48, is in custody, where police said he had admitted to the crime.
A school administrator said: “He was a wonderful little boy who was a little mischievous, but used to entertain the children in class and would give them a fun atmosphere.
“One of his close friends has been crying since Monday and says he no longer wants to come to school because Obaida’s seat is empty.
“Obaida was a born leader. He would guard the front gates of the school to make sure no one would leave without permission.”
One of his teachers at Jeel Al Jadeed said: “Obaida was very well known in the school because he was very active, very smart, and very playful.
“We were all in a state of shock on Monday morning, and we couldn’t look at each other without bursting into tears.”
“When we reached the school that day, the students already knew from their parents that Obaida was gone. They figured it out from social media or their mothers.”
Teachers said that the school has been in a state of sadness since Monday, when they said a prayer and held silence for him.
Obaida’s mother has not stopped praying since she learnt the news of her son’s fate. She was distraught but said she had to hold on for the sake of her husband and two girls.
“What can I tell you? Obaida, although was a little boy, was so much more mature,” said Zaineb Al Aqrabawi.
“He acted like a man. I did not have him long enough.”
Mrs Al Aqrabawi said the death sentence was the only justice for the man found guilty of killing her son.