A middle aged woman from Ndiuni village, Yatta Sub-county of Machakos County was on Saturday night killed by a hippo, becoming the latest victim of the now increasingly common deadly human-wildlife conflict in the area.
Her mutilated body which bore bite marks was discovered by area residents along the banks of river Athi which traverses the village who reported the matter to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the local police. It was claimed the victim met her fate while walking home from a nearby market.
“I can confirm that a 36 year old woman was killed by a hippo which had strayed from the banks of the River Athi at around 9pm on Saturday. This is a hugely unfortunate and regrettable incident, and I would like to assure residents that we are doing our best to handle the situation,” said the Machakos Chief Warden, David Mutwiwa while confirming the incident.
He however called on residents of areas in the county that bordered wildlife habitations to always exercise caution whenever they were outdoors.
“I still want to warn wananchi that they should be wary of wild animals as they almost always pose an ever present danger,” said Mr. Mutwiwa in his office.
This is not the first time hippos have attacked and maimed or killed people in the area. Apart from attacking people, the hippos which inhabit the river also consume and destroy food crops in the shambas.
Residents of the village have been decrying this growing hippo menace with local leaders threatening to mobilize residents to take up arms and protect themselves and their crops from the hippos. They claim that whenever the beasts attack, KWS takes long to respond.
“If the KWS does not take a decisive act to stop these attacks, I will call for mass action against these beasts as we cannot just continue watching our crops being destroyed, while our people are killed or injured,” lamented the area MCA, Nicholas Muia following the incident.
By Moses Mutuku/Justus Keesi