Crocodile attacks terrorize villagers in central Rwanda

KAMONYI, Rwanda, Aug. 24 — “We are still waiting for his body to
float if at all the remains are still intact,” said Donata Mukanyana, whose
husband was killed by a crocodile last Friday.

Mukanyana and other residents along the banks of Nyabarongo River in
Kamonyi District, Southern Province, are suffering as a result of deadly
crocodiles that are preying on people and livestock. The villagers have
reported frequent crocodile attacks to local authorities and said seven
people this month were killed by the reptiles as they tried to fetch water
from the river. Crocodiles used to attack people along the river banks in
Nyarugenge District in the capital city of Kigali, on the other side of the
river. Nyarugenge authorities barred people from fetching water from the
river, which helped reduce cases of such attacks. “My husband was killed by
the crocodile on a Friday morning when he had just gone to fetch water from
the river for making banana brew (a local alcoholic drink). We immediately
rushed to the river when we heard screams from passersby. We shouted at the
crocodile so that it can release his body, but all in vain,” recalled
Mukanyana, 43. She appealed for help from the government of Rwanda to
compensate her family and help cater for her six children.

Mukanyana’s husband Oreste Habamenshi, 53, was attacked by the enormous
beast at 6 a.m. when he went to fetch water from the crocodile infested
river. According to Jean Marie Habimana, one of the residents, the
crocodiles have been attacking people and livestock for the past years. “If
the government avails us with water near to our homes, there would be no
need of going to Nyabarongo River to fetch water. We appeal for long-term
and permanent solution to crocodile attacks,” he said. To prevent further
crocodile attacks, Southern Province authority cautioned the Kamonyi
residents against fetching water from Nyabarongo River saying that the
Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) will pump water from the river and
bring it closer to the residents. Speaking to Xinhua in a phone interview,
Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, Governor of Southern Province, said that she
held a meeting with residents near the banks of Nyabarongo River on Monday
and urged them to stop fetching water or doing any activity from the
river.”The government through Special Guarantee Fund (SGF) is set to
compensate victims. We are also in talks with WASAC to extend piped water
to communities along Nyabarongo River, as we look for a permanent solution
to this challenge,” she noted. – xinhua