A Ugandan fisherman, Mubalak Batambuze, of Kibuye village in Uganda, is being celebrated as a hero by fellow villagers after he hunted down and killed a 20-foot crocodile that weighed over 1,000 kg; the same croc that killed and ate his pregnant wife. And he did it with a stabbing spear.
The crocodile had terrorized the villagers for a year, lurking in the lake close to the shore, attacking unwary villagers that came too close to the shoreline and dragging them into the water for dinner.
Batambuze was so devastated by the loss of his wife, Dementilia Nabwire, who was eight months pregnant, that he spent his life savings to arm himself with a sharp spear. He went out with the spear, tracked down the crocodile and killed it.
Ugandan media reports say that Dementilia went to the shore of Lake Kyoga in search of firewood on a Sunday morning. Her husband and villagers became worried when she failed to return after she had been gone for several hours.
A search party went out from the village to find her, and after a long search they found her body parts close to the water, including bloody toes and fingers, and personal effects, including her mobile phone. The villagers noticed a huge crocodile lurking in the river, the same beast they believed had killed six women and children, and wounded five others from the village over a period of one year.
Seething and thirsting for revenge, 56-year-old Batambuze returned to the village and used his life savings to procure the services of a local blacksmith who made a sharp hunting spear, the Ugandan newspaper New Vision reports.
“I went to a blacksmith and paid him sh20,000 (£4.65) so that he could make me a very sharp spear.”
The brave man returned to the lake and after a long search he found the crocodile lurking in shallow water close to the shore, apparently hoping to catch another human unaware. But this time the killer crocodile met its match. Batambuze stalked and killed the crocodile by stabbing it with his spear. He then dragged it up to the shore with the help of other fishermen.
According to the Telegraph, officials from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) who measured the carcass confirmed that it measured a record-breaking 7.5 meters (more than 20 feet) and weighed about 157 stones (1,000 kg).
Measurements of specimens of Nile crocodiles rarely exceed six meters.
Peter Ogwang, spokesperson for the UWA, told the German press agency, DPA, that they found human remains and clothing inside the killer crocodile.
“I sent my people there, and they found human bones and clothes in the crocodile’s stomach. We believe this was the same animal that killed the woman.”
The villagers demanded compensation from the authorities. The head of the district, Wycliffe Ibanda, told reporters that the wildlife authorities were to blame for the deaths because they failed to respond to villagers’ call for help.
“Whenever we ask them to come over they ask for fuel.”
But officials said it was not the policy of the UWA to pay compensation to relatives of people killed by crocodiles. Officials said there has been an increase in crocodile attacks because humans were encroaching on crocodiles’ habitat.
Overfishing is also depleting crocodiles’ natural food sources, officials said.
[Images: Wikimedia Commons]