Erbol and Alimbek, a pair of third-graders and lifelong friends, were on their way home from school when a speeding BMW plowed into them.
The impact was so strong the car’s front license plate flew off. Without hanging around to inspect his handiwork, the driver sped away. Images of the gravely wounded children lying on the ground in their red school uniforms quickly did the rounds on Kyrgyzstan’s social media, sparking outrage among a public otherwise inured to stories of shocking traffic accidents.
The accident also revived calls to finally kickstart a dormant project to install cameras around the capital, Bishkek, as part of the serially delayed Safe City initiative. But officials admit that progress is unlikely to be made soon because of a protracted legal dispute.
There is another twist to Erbol and Alimbek’s story that has provoked particular revulsion, and which neatly highlights the sense of impunity felt by the country’s most hardened delinquent drivers.
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Nurjamal Djanibekova is a reporter based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.