An 18-year-old girl will live to tell the story of her near-death experience after she was miraculously wrestled from the jaws of a crocodile by a group of her friends on Saturday.
Fatal crocodile attacks are rising in frequency in Kavango East, where many villagers depend on the Kavango River for water, for cooking and a range of other chores.
The latest incident involving man-eating crocs took place at around 19h00 on Saturday, when a crocodile attacked and almost killed 18-year-old Kandenga Thikundeko, who hails from Rudhiva village in Mukwe, while she was swimming in the river with her friends on Saturday.
The crocodile caught and injured the young woman’s left leg, but fortunately her brave friends wrestled the croc and managed to rescue her. They then immediately rushed her to Andara Hospital, where she is reported to be in a stable condition and showing signs of recovery.
Despite appearing docile, crocodiles are highly intelligent and usually monitor certain spots along the river for weeks, if not months, before they ambush their victims. Communities are susceptible to these attacks, because the spots where they usually fetch water from, or swim, do not have crocodile-proof low-voltage electric fences.
In December 2015 Inspector Chrispin Mubebo, the police crime coordinator for Kavango East, said between January and December at least seven people were caught and killed by crocodiles in Kavango East.
According to Mubebo among the casualties were five people from Ndiyona Constituency and one from Mashare Constituency. One of the victims was killed in Rundu and another was caught and killed by a crocodile at Divundu, he said.
Last year’s statistics indicate an increase in croc attacks in the Kavango, as in previous years only three such attacks were recorded in 2013, and four in 2014, Mubebo pointed out.
The recent croc attack at Rudhiva is said to be the first for 2016 in Kavango East and residents are thus warned to be cautious.
“We received the incident report and, as the police, we are once again urging and advising residents who live and depend on the river to be cautious when making use of it, as there are various risks that one can encounter while in the river. Kandenga Thikundeko was lucky that she had people [nearby] who managed to save her,” Detective Chief Inspector Ewald Kavara of Kavango East said.