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Man mauled to death by hyenas after attending friend's burial

By James Wanzala | July 4th 2016
Neighbours Josphat Mironga, left, and Paul Karanja assist Joyce Nairesian after fainting at the scene where her uncle's body was discovered. The late Anthony Wambua was found after a team of hyenas mauled his body Kandisi sub-location, Lower Nkoroi location in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County on June 29, 2016. (PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/ STANDARD)

As a crestfallen Anthony Mbugua Mwathi attended his friend’s burial ceremony last Monday, little did he know that he would meet his death on the same day.

After bidding his friend goodbye, Mr Mbugua decided to have some drinks before heading home at around 7pm.

On his way, however, he stopped for a chitchat with his friend, Martin Mulilo Wafula, a night guard, at Ujenzi Hardware in Kandisi Village, Ongata Rongai Sub-County, Kajiado County.

He then headed home, only 500 metres away. “He was drunk but not so much as to be unable to walk. I told him to go home because the police were patrolling the area often and if they bumped into him, they would arrest him. I knew he would get home safely,” says Wafula. But that did not happen.

Before he reached home, he was attacked by a pack of hyenas.

The animals are believed to have strayed from the nearby Nairobi National Park.

It was about 2pm when Mr Wafula, the last person to see Mbugua alive, was informed that he was no more.

The hyenas dragged Mbugua into a maize plantation and devoured him under an avocado tree. Hyenas, according to Wafula, start roaming the area from as early as 8pm.

Late in the morning, passers-by spotted a trail of blood and fallen maize stems. They followed the lead and found Mbugua’s mutilated body under the tree.

Mbugua’s mother, Joyce Muthoni, passed near the scene in the morning but did not know that her son lay dead in the maize farm.

“I passed by the spot at about 10am on  my way to meet a friend in town but I didn’t see anything. At about 1pm I was called by my neighbour who informed me that something was wrong at home,” Muthoni said.

When Muthoni finally reached the scene, she found Mbugua’s body being taken away by police.

“Losing my only son is so painful. He was a very good son. He was God-fearing and very obedient,” said the the tearful mother.

Joyce Muthoni, the late Anthony Mbugua's mother, shows her daughter Elizabeth Wambui the scene where Mbugua's body was found. (PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/ STANDARD)

Mbugua’s father, David Mwathi, fainted on receiving the bad news. “It was after four hours that I regained consciousness,” he said.

“The death of my only son caught us off-guard. He was obedient and I have lost a strong son. If it were sickness, we would have been prepared both psychologically and financially. What we are asking Kenya Wildlife Service is to ensure that we get justice,” said Mr Mwathi.

Mbugua’s body is lying at City Mortuary, awaiting postmortem, according to his sister, Muthoni.

KWS said the postmortem will reveal whether the man was dead when he was mauled by the hyenas or if he was killed by the animals.

Incidents of hyenas and other animals including leopards, lions terrorising the area are not new.

Josephat Mironga, a resident, said a man in his 60s was killed by a hyena last year.

Anne Wangui, Mbugua’s sister, said wild animals make a lot noise at night.

“After 6pm, you better sleep where the night finds for you risk being eaten or injured by wild animals,” she warned.

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