WHILE police in urban areas are battling to enforce the country’s 10pm curfew to limit the continued spread of Covid-19, the case is however different in rural districts like Mberengwa, where hyenas are wreaking havoc, prompting villagers to stop being out at night.
The hyenas are coming from surrounding hills to attack people and livestock.
So marauding and vicious are the hyenas that shops and bottle stores under Chief Maziofa’s area close early.
The wild animals that are targeting cattle and goats, are also brazenly roaming the area even in broad daylight, going to the extent of attacking people sitting in their huts.
Witchcraft allegations are also being thrown around after the vicious animals allegedly tried to dig up a fresh grave at one of the homesteads in the area.
A villager, Absolom Zhou, said they were living in fear after their area was plagued by hyenas that have developed a taste for human flesh.
“Hyenas are a menace here. We are living in fear as these hyenas come near people’s houses and attack them together with their cattle, goats and dogs. The situation is so terrible such that villagers have since stopped walking at night. Shops and bottle stores in the area are now closing early as people rush home in fear of the vicious and marauding animals which are also now attacking people in broad daylight,” Zhou said.
Another villager, Admire Pasipanodya, said the situation has become so terrible that the villagers are also now accusing each other of witchcraft, saying the animals’ menace was associated with things to do with witchcraft.
“Witchcraft allegations are also being thrown around after the hyenas tried to dig up a fresh grave in the area. Some villagers are now pestering traditional leaders to invite tsikamutandas (with-hunters) to cleanse the area,” said Pasipanodya.
Mrs Fadzai Nyoni, who lost four cattle to hyenas, said walking in their area was now dangerous, adding that they were still waiting for assistance from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks).
“Once the sun sets, they start hunting for food. They have attacked and injured several people in the area and personally I have lost four cattle to these hyenas. We have reported the matter to Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) thinking they were going to take swift action but they have done nothing,” she said.
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said they had moved into the area to deal with the situation.
Meanwhile, on Valentine’s Day, a 33-year-old man Doubt Dube from Dopota village in Cross Dete, Hwange district was savagely killed and devoured by hyenas while walking home from a beer drink.
In November last year a pack of six hyenas killed Tendai Maseka (46) from Banure village in the Holy Cross area under Chief Chirumanzu in Mvuma district and ate his torso. Only his arms, legs and head were found the following day.