MACHENI: Kariba crocodile which killed 21 men and ate their private parts only sets tongues wagging


A MYSTERIOUS crocodile, which the residents of Gatche Gatche claim has supernatural powers and only devours the private parts of its victims, has cast its huge shadow over this small fishing community on the shores of Lake Kariba.

They say the elusive giant reptile has killed more than 21 people, mainly fishermen, and all of them lost their private parts while the other parts of their bodies were left intact.

The crocodile has been nicknamed “Macheni,” because of its weird taste for the private parts of human beings and this has fed suspicion, within the community, that this is not an ordinary crocodile.

Some claim it is a weapon, controlled by someone with some powerful “magical powers, who is using the human private parts for his dark arts, whatever it is.”

Kariba residents, who spoke to H-Metro at the weekend, insist that this is a “phantom crocodile.”

They also claim that is why it is too elusive for officials from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to track it down and kill it.

Most, if not all of the attacks, the sources said, have happened around the same area.

Zimparks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo, responded to H-Metro enquiries by telling this newspaper that residents of the affected area believe this is a “spiritual crocodile.”

He revealed that:

  • A total of 32 lives were lost from crocodile attacks in Lake Kariba, between Sanyati River and the Lake Kariba Dam Wall, between 2016 and 2023.
  • Between 2016 and 2023, 38 crocodiles were eliminated during the same period. Over 40 crocodiles were also captured and translocated.

“As from 2019, legal and illegal gill netting fishers in Gatche Gatche area assumed that crocodile attacks taking place in the Tsetse Island general area were caused by one crocodile,” said Farawo.

“While the fact that the attacks are caused by only one crocodile remains an assumption, efforts have been made by Zimparks to assess the area and to eliminate suspect crocodiles in the general area.

“The community has named the alleged crocodile ‘Macheni.’ Reasons for the assumption that the crocodile attacks were caused by one crocodile emanated from the fact that most of the attacks were taking place in one general area.

“The fishers have a belief that the crocodile is a spiritual crocodile and this is the reason they named it ‘Macheni,’ since they claim that the crocodile used to only remove testicles from men after the attack.”

He said their observations have revealed that:

  • The crocodile attacks in this area were generally taking place at night. Gill netting at night is not allowed, it is actually conducted by poachers. The area of concern is not a legal fishing ground, which they also called “Macheni Bay”. Illegal fishers usually delay giving reports of attacks and this makes follow up difficult.
  • The reasons why most of the attacks were taking place in this general area were that many people were flocking to this area to do illegal fishing, this is probably because they were enjoying good fish catches in this area. It is also a fact that crocodiles also feed on fish and they also tend to flock areas with more fish and this has caused this conflict.
  • More than 7 crocodiles have been eliminated in the general area between 2020 and 2023, however, the Gatche Gatche community has maintained that the alleged ‘Macheni’ is still alive.
  • Several attempts to eliminate the alleged crocodile were done way after the crocodile attacks, since all reports are received days after the attacks, making the searches difficult.
  • We have also called upon the Gatche Gatche community to help to identify the alleged crocodile so that we eliminate it once it has been spotted. We are continuing working with the fishers association to identification of the alleged crocodile.

He said between December and January this year, Zimparks intensified anti-poaching patrols at Tsetse Island and removed all poachers, who periodically put illegal shelters.

“Since then, no person has been attacked by crocodiles at the alleged ‘Macheni Bay.’

“We are still working with the community to identify the alleged crocodile, once the crocodile is identified, we will eliminate it.”

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