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Public outcry halts plan to shoot monkeys in Murang'a

By Boniface Gikandi | Published Thu, March 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 14th 2018 at 21:44 GMT +3
One of the monkeys at Mabanda market in Gatanga after it was captured by the farmers using a trap provided by Murang'a County Government. [Photo/Standard]

An operation to rid Murang’a University of Technology of monkeys has been halted following a public outcry.

The university had called in the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) after the primates started raiding students’ hostels.

The university issued a warning that live bullets would be used, and directed students and staff to beware of gunshots.

“This is to alert all students that KWS will be shooting monkeys today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) between 2pm and 4pm.

The exercise will involve firing of live bullets which may cause fear and panic,” said the university in a memo dated March 13, 2018.

The university’s head of security, Felix Kimotho, said operation was planned following increased complaints from students.

But on Tuesday, unconfirmed reports that four monkeys had been shot dead at the university sparked outrage on social media platforms prompting the university to call off the operation.

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A memo sent by the university yesterday, however referred to the earlier one advising ‘students and staff to keep off university farm for KWS personnel to scare away monkeys’. The memo noted that the exercise had been successfully completed and all monkeys had been scared out of the farm.

Our calls to KWS officials on the matter went unanswered.

The operation came as the county announced a Sh3 million budget to fight monkeys last month.

Crop destruction

The county’s Agriculture department said the kitty would have an all-out war against the monkeys in an operation dubbed ‘Tafuta Tumbili.’

The animals have been blamed for crop destruction across the county and in some cases, violent attacks.

Last year, reports indicated that the primates attacked a nurse at Murang’a District Hospital.

The agriculture department said the hundreds of monkeys roaming the county had become a major threat to food security.

While farmers support the operation, some residents on social media poked fun at it, questioning how the money would be utilised.

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