, NYAHURURU, Kenya, Mar 5 – A twelve-year-old boy was on Sunday mauled to death by a rogue hippopotamus at Rurie village within Ol-Kalou constituency.
Mourning engulfed the entire village after news spread of the tragic demise of Shadrack Mburu Mwangi moments after he left home in the company of his father.
It was reported that the deceased and his father Charles Mwangi were heading to Rurie shopping centre at around 6am when the incident occurred.
Mwangi said they were walking on a bushy footpath when they were attacked by three hippos that were returning to the nearby Kanguo dam after roaming in the neighboring farms at night.
“One of them grabbed my son by the leg and threw him several metres forward. As I tried to save him, two others emerged and I had to run for my life,” said Mwangi.
The body of the standard five pupil at Mugathika primary school was found at the shore of the dam where it was dumped by the rogue animals.
A human rights activist Wahome Kamoche was among leaders who visited the scene after the incident. He said the presence of the hippos at the dam has brought pain and huge losses to the local residents.
“Education has been retarded in the local schools since children live in fear and have to go to school late. Local residents cannot access the dam to fetch water for domestic or livestock use; neither can they fish yet the dam is used for community fish rearing business,” he said.
Leaders from the area said the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has failed to contain the wild animals which have migrated from the neighboring Lake Olbolosat.
Rurie residents gave the government a six-month ultimatum to fence off Lake Olbolosat to prevent the animals from wrecking havoc in the area saying they will take the law into their hands if that is not done.
“The animals are becoming our enemies and if not contained during that period we shall kill them. These animals should not be here and their presence has always been a disaster in waiting,” said Faith Gitau, a woman leader.
A local businessman David Kiaraho urged the government to facilitate the burial of the boy and compensate his parents as soon as possible.
He observed that KWS has not been paying compensation for livestock killed by wild animals in the area, which has demoralised farmers.
Irate residents held protest marches and barred police officers from collecting the body, demanding to first be shown the carcass of the killer hippo.
They also attempted to drain the dam but their efforts were thwarted by police officers who intervened.
Nyandarua Games Warden Peter Lekeren called on the resident to remain calm as the department was doing everything possible to relocate the animals to the Lake Olbolosat.