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Residents protest after elephants destroy homes

Residents at Mbiririri Village in Kieni,Nyeri County rummage through the debris of a house which was destroyed by marauding elephants from Mt Kenya forest.Five houses worthy Sh700.000 and crops were destroyed by stray elephants, while three people escaped death narrowly after they fled away. [Photo:Kibata Kihu/Standard]

A group of villagers yesterday held protests after elephants from Mt Kenya forest invaded their homes, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

The residents of Mbiriri village in Kieni Constituency, who barricaded roads leading into the area, threatened to kill the animals if Kenya Wildlife Service fails to protect them.

On Monday night at around 9pm, Joseph Maina was at home with his wife and four children when they heard the rumble of a charging elephant in their compound.

“I came out of my house to find out where the sound was coming from only to find an adult elephant and her calf in my potato farm.

According to Mr Maina, the calf then charged at his house and he shouted to his wife and children to get out.

“The calf went berserk. We thought we were going to die. My neighbours came to the rescue and the noise and their flashing torches scared the animals away,” Maina said.

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No shelter

Maina’s home was flattened by the elephant. Household items including clothes and bedding were strewn across the compound.

With no shelter, the family was forced to seek refuge in a neighbour’s house.

At 11pm, the elephants struck again, this time they headed straight to Joshua Kaguchia’s house.

Kaguchia, 70, was sleeping soundly when he heard shouts from his neighbours asking him to leave the house.

He woke up and rushed outside. He was right on time as the angry elephant immediately reduced his house to rubble.

“I woke up and heard some loud noise outside my house. I did not realise that the elephant was pushing against my house trying to bring it down,” Mr Kaguchia said.

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“It is through sheer luck that I am alive. One minute longer and I would have died in my house, because there is nothing left of it,” Kaguchia added.

This was not the first time the elephants have struck. On April 7, they destroyed Maina and his son’s houses.

Maina’s wife, Catherine Wanjiku, said they now fear sleeping in their houses.

“We have nothing to protect ourselves except torches and retreating into our homes. Now they are attacking us in our houses, where shall we hide?” she said. 

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