SACKED FLOWER FARMWORKERS

Hippo horror: Another fisherman killed in Naivasha

Illegal fishermen increase as flower farms fire workers in Covid-19 crisis.

In Summary

 • More than 10 people killed by hippos this year and hippo numbers increase.

• 140 licensed fishermen, many more illegals, notably sacked workers fired from flower farms on the lake.

 

Illegal fishermen in Lake Naivasha lay their nets near shores where hippo attacks on the rise.
DANGEROUS: Illegal fishermen in Lake Naivasha lay their nets near shores where hippo attacks on the rise.
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

Hippo attacks in Lake Naivasha have been increasing in the past month following an influx of sacked flower farmworkers seeking to make a living as fishermen.

The third person in a week was killed by a hippo near Kihoto Estate while illegally fishing.

The man was dead on arrival at Naivasha subcounty hospital.

Early in the week, two fishermen were killed by hippos at Kasarani and Karagita beaches.

Chairman of Friends of Lake Naivasha Francis Muthui said the rising cases were worrying as at least three deaths are reported every month. Six attacks occurred in the past month, he said.

Muthui said most of those killed are foot-fishermen from neighbouring informal estates.

“We have lost another young man to an attack by a hippo and these cases are on the rise due to the high number of people involved in illegal fishing,” he said.

Speaking earlier, KWS assistant director in charge of Central Rift Dickson Ritan said the Covid-19 pandemic had pushed unemployed youths into illegal fishing. He toured Kihoto Estate affected by a rise in water levels in the rainy season.

“We have formed a multi-agency security team to address the rising cases of illegal fishing,” he said.

Youths from Karagita Estate in Naivasha, meanwhile, won the first round in their battle with an investor over the opening of a blocked corridor leading to the lake. They used the corridor to reach the lake for fishing.

The investor agreed to open the corridor near the Sopa Lodge following three days of unrest in which several buses were damaged and transport halted.

Demonstrator Lucas Kiratu said the corridor was essential in the lives of poor residents. He said it had been used for years before it was blocked by the investor.

“We are grateful the corridor leading to the lake has been opened and we will push for other blocked access routes to be opened," he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)