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The killer hyenas of Juja strike again! Maul 10-year-old boy

Grief has stricken residents of Gwa Kigwi village in Juja, Kiambu after a pack of hyenas mauled a 10-year-old boy to death, a month after a nine-year-old boy was also mauled to death.

The boy identified as Dennis Teya was a grade four pupil at a local school is said to have been walking home with his friends on Wednesday evening when they were attacked by the animals.

According to residents, the boys fled for their lives when they were attacked only for one of them to be attacked and killed by the wild animals.

Residents initiated a search for the missing boy and discovered a trail of blood leading to the swamp where they found one huge hyena feasting on the boy who had been devoured on his left side from head to toe.

The latest attack comes just days when residents of Nyacaba, Witeithia, Maraba and Kabati in Juja, Kiambu County thought they could finally sleep without fear after the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) deployed officers in the villages to hunt down killer hyenas that have claimed lives of villagers in the recent past.

KWS has since revealed that it has so far trans-located 12 hyenas from Juja, in efforts to mitigate the human-animal conflict in the area.

In a statement, KWS says it has promptly deployed the Problem Animal Management Unit (PAMU), which strategically placed traps, initiated hyena captures and mobilized a veterinary unit to translocate and relocate the hyenas from the human-dominated area.

“Regrettably, Juja Sub-County in Kiambu county has witnessed a surge in human-hyena conflicts, resulting in the tragic loss of human life. KWS extends condolences to the affected families,” read the statement.

In December when at least 20 KWS were deployed in the area, the warden in charge of Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, Fred Kisera, said the deployed officers would be mandated to cage the hyenas and return them to park.

“These interventions will significantly reduce the conflict. This approach involved actively tracking, capturing and translocating hyenas,” he said.

Such attacks are common in the area. In November 2023, a pack of hyenas mauled a nine-year-old boy to death.

Earlier in December, angry residents of Nyacaba village in Juja sub-county blocked a section of Thika Road and stopped police officers from collecting the body of a middle-aged woman who was mauled to death by suspected hyenas.

It was believed that the woman was walking from Nyacaba village to Ndarugu coffee plantation when she was attacked by the animals.

In September 2022 another nine-year-old boy was also mauled to death by a pack of hyenas.

The incident come just months after a 35-year-old man from the neighbouring Athi village was also attacked in a similar style by about eight hyenas.

Earlier, two more people had been attacked by the same animals at Witeithie village in Juja and Thika Constituency respectively.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) later warned the people of Juja and Thika about the marauding animals that have been attacking residents.

Now, locals have been forced to adopt a self-imposed curfew routine where they ensure they get home before it gets dark. Every day, as darkness sets in people lock themselves in their houses and the hyenas take charge, with their disturbing ‘laughs’ a constant reminder of who rules the nights.

KWS has since launched Operation Ondoa Fisi following complaints from people in the area regarding the wild animals terrorising the residents, some of which have been responsible for nightmare attacks on people near human settlements.

The wildlife body also asked the county government to restore the abandoned quarries, fence operational quarries, and the Makongeni dumpsite which may act as popular hiding spots for the hyenas.

Other measures taken by KWS included holding meetings with the residents to educate them on hyena behaviour and safety measures as well as holding consultative meetings with Kiambu leaders to implement resolutions for local protection.