Residents of Saka location, Tana River County are now living in fear after a 16-year-old herds boy was trampled to death by a stray hippo Tuesday at around 4.30 pm.
Mohammed Abdi met his death while taking care of his father’s livestock along the banks of river Tana
Addressing the press at the scene, a fellow herder Musa Kone who was grazing his animals together with the deceased said he watched helplessly as the hippo trampled on Mohammed killing him on the spot.
Kone said he rushed to the nearby villages to seek help but on returning to the scene they found the lone hippo had retreated into the river leaving behind the badly mutilated body by the river banks.
“It was a terrifying scene to watch. Since yesterday when the incident took place, it has been recurring in my mind and last night I could not sleep,” a visibly shaken Kone said. “It was by the grace of God that I survived. Who knows it could have been me. May the soul of my friend rest in peace,” he added.
On her part, Saka chief Mumina Harun said that hippos leave the river to settlement areas in search pasture and urged KWS to enhance patrols along the banks of river Tana to keep off stray wild animals.
“Most of the residents along the river Tana depend on irrigation farming apart from grazing their livestock, burning charcoal and selling firewood among other activities. The drought in the area is forcing wild animals out of the river to settlement areas,” Harun said.
“I am calling on KWS to increase patrols especially in the early morning and evening hours when the residents go to the river to fetch water. This will ensure the safety of our people,” she added.
And residents accused KWS of laxity and being insensitive to their plight with Juma Dido, the new Madogo MCA saying relatives of many residents killed by wildlife in the area years back have not been compensated.
Dido said that despite the area being prone to wildlife attacks, KWS has not bothered to open a patrol office in Madogo. “Every time we have such an attack, we have to travel to Garissa to report the incident. We cannot remove the body until KWS arrive and sometimes they take long,” Dido said.
“I am appealing to KWS to open an office in Madogo and post rangers to patrol the river Tana especially during floods and drought seasons when attacks are common,” he added.
The body of the deceased was removed by officers from Madogo police station to Garissa referral hospital for postmortem and was later released to the family for burial in accordance to Islamic rites at a Madogo cemetery.
By Jacob Songok