Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kenya: Lions maul deaf bridegroom

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
April 12, 2007

By Victor Obure

A bizarre tragedy struck a village in Garissa when lions mauled a deaf and dumb man on the eve of his marriage. Residents of Kamuthe, near Dadaab, who tried to warn the bridegroom in vain, watched from a distance as the beasts tore him to pieces.

In grim irony, Salat Abdi Gesoth, 39, was driving home goats, which were to settle his dowry before the ceremony when the pride, apparently stalking the goats, killed him.

Abdi, from Dertu village in Denyere location, has a first wife, with whom they have two children aged three and five.

Denyere chief, Mr Mohamed Hutley, said Kamuthe villagers, who did not know Abdi was deaf and dumb, tried to warn him by screaming when they saw the pride.

He noticed the lions when it was too late, villagers said. The deceased was said to have put up a fight with a club and sword, but the lions, which numbered about nine, overpowered him.

Villagers said the herdsman was on his way home after collecting 23 goats from relatives and friends in Dadaab.

Hutley said the screaming villagers watched Abdi walk into the pride's trap. Frightened, the goats run towards the village, leaving their shepherd in the jaws of the beasts.

Residents had earlier been alerted of the pride.

Hutley said Abdi's body was mutilated as the lions dragged it to the thickets.

He said the episode forced villagers to flee to Denyere trading centre after the pride later camped at Ahmed Kallow dam, where they denied herders access to water.

Residents have been complaining of lions, which roam in the villages. Last month, villagers said the lions killed two children.


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