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Hippo kills fisherman as residents ask KWS to remove beasts

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Fishermen in Lake Victoria have urged the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to remove rogue hippos in the lake after a 39-year-old fisherman was killed by one of the behemoths.

The fishermen said the number of hippos has increased in parts of Suba and they are worried about their safety, especially when they are out fishing at night.

Suba Beach Management Unit Chairman William Onditi said their safety in the lake is not guaranteed.

This follows the death on Sunday of a fisherman, who was mauled by a hippo that was defending its habitat.

The man, identified as Julius Ouko Odhiambo, is said to have met his death after the animal bit him on his right arm.

He was with his colleague at the Roo beach in Kaksingri ward when their boat was hit by the hippo.

Both men were tossed overboard before the animal started attacking them.

Mr Onditi said the men were casting their nets when the incident happened.

“Hippos do hit boats when they feel threatened. They bite and break bones and tear flesh to defend themselves,” he said.

Unprovoked

The fishermen were not doing anything that could harm the animal, he said.

He claimed the hippo found its way into a space that fishermen use regularly.

When the two men dived into the water, the animal went straight for them.

“They were caught unawares. The animal hit the boat repeatedly before breaking it into pieces and sending the fishermen overboard,” Mr Onditi said.

Mr Odhiambo’s body was taken to the Suba South Sub-County hospital mortuary for postmortem, said a police report.

Fishermen urged the government to save them from possible future attacks.

Mr Onditi said the lives of most fishermen are at risk.

“Suba has one of the largest populations of fishermen. We are likely to witness more deaths if the animals are not tamed,” he said.

Besides death, hippos have caused permanent injuries to some people living near Lake Victoria beaches.

Some people are unable to walk after the beasts injured their limbs.

Mr Onditi appealed to the KWS to educate people on the lakeshore on how to live with the animals, saying some injuries may be caused by carelessness.
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