Problematic crocodile attacks, devours fishing Silobela man (53)

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By Midlands Correspondent

IN a tragic incident, a 53-year-old Silobela man died recently after he was attacked and devoured by a crocodile in Tsapehwa Dam in the Midlands area where he had been fishing.

Julius Hoko of Ward 8 under headman Gobo in Chief Malisa’s area was attacked by the dreaded reptile when he was trying to retrieve a friend’s fishing rod which had been stuck in the dam’s reeds.

Narrating the tragedy, Taurai, a young brother to the now deceased, said on the fateful day, Hoko was with a friend by the dam.

“We gathered that my brother had taken cattle to the pastures. It was within the process of herding cattle that he passed by the dam where he saw a friend who was fishing and joined him. It was immediately after joining his fishing friend that his (friend) rod got stuck within the reeds.

“It was in the process of trying to retrieve the rod that he lost balance and fell into the dam. That was when he got attacked by the crocodile.

“The friend could not do much to assist as my brother fought with the crocodile,” he said.

When villagers arrived at the scene, they managed to retrieve Hoko’s remains which they took to Silobela Hospital mortuary.

The traffic incident has ignited angry protests from local villagers who have accused the Zimbabwe National Parks Authority for failing to deal with the problematic reptile which started to become a menace in 2017.

“This is not the first time that a villager has been attacked by a crocodile in that dam,” said a local businessman.

“In 2017, a similar incident happened. The crocodile attacked and killed a young girl in the same dam. Villagers are losing their livestock to the crocodiles.

“We raised the issue with the National Parks but they have not intervened since then. Now we have lost a villager who is a breadwinner to his family.”

Area MP, Mthokhozisi Manoki Mpofu said the tragedy was caused by the drought which is affecting the area.

“Because of the drought and challenges, people are now forced to do fishing for survival. That is when they come into conflict with crocodiles. We once suggested to the parks department to bring down the troublesome reptiles but they refused,” Manoki said.