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ELECTION 2022

Lion ‘eats’ herder in Garissa

NORTH EASTERN
By Abdimalik Hajir | Apr 13th 2022 | 2 min read
Drought has led to the rise of human-wildlife conflict. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

A herder who went missing three weeks ago in Garissa was allegedly killed by a lion in a forest.

Only the skull and bones of Suleiman Ali Omar were found on Sunday at Harajabs, Fafi Sub County.

Omar, according to his relatives, was herding the family’s cattle when he went missing.

Search parties that were deployed to the areas were not successful.

Devastated family members who had Tuesday gathered at Garissa Referral Hospital morgue where the remains are being preserved pleaded with the government to compensate the family.

Noor Dubat, a close relative told journalists that another herder stumbled on Omar's remains on Sunday and alerted the family.

The herder said Omar's blood-soaked kikoi was also found a few meters from where his remains were.

“The family was convinced that those were his remains because of his national identification card that was also found at the scene, footprints of the lion and the struggle was also evident,” Dubat said.

He appealed to the relevant government agencies to speedily act and investigate the matter with the view of compensating the family as the young man was the sole breadwinner for his family.

“He was an orphan who was struggling to pay school fees for his siblings and run the household, the family is now stuck,” he added.

On Wednesday, there was a beehive of activities at the mortuary with officials from both Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Kenya Wildlife Service recording statements from relatives.

The officials, who declined to speak to the media, told relatives that a conclusive report will be given upon proper identification by pathologists.

The skull and two bones, supposedly from the arms, were wrapped in his blood-soaked kikoi. Family members said they would be going back to the forest to search for other missing body parts to accord their kin a decent burial.

Another group of people whose kin, also a herder, went missing in the same area went to the morgue hoping to identify the remains.  They said the person also went missing around the same time.

As drought intensifies, pastoralists have a tendency of getting their livestock to far flunk areas, hundreds of kilometres away from their homes in search of pasture and water.

This has led to the rise of human-wildlife conflict.

They complained the big cat has been a threat to both their lives and livestock, and called on the government, through Kenya Wildlife Service, to intervene.

“We are facing a double tragedy, here we are supposed to protect our animals from wildlife such as lions while we are also facing devastating drought and lack of water,” noted Ahmed Mohamed.  

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