Residents of Juja Farm in Kiambu County are crying out to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to remove marauding hyenas that have claimed the lives of three people in two months.
This is after the ferocious beasts attacked and killed the third victim last Thursday night at Athi village of Juja sub-county, spreading fear and panic among villagers.
Besides devouring the three men, locals said, the hyenas suspected to have been brought to the area by KWS have also been eating livestock, to the chagrin of farmers who have never been compensated.
The latest victim of the marauders was 35-year-old Robert Mwangi alias 'Karundo', a casual labourer at a local stone quarry who was attacked by the animals as he walked home. The other two were killed on different dates in November and December last year.
Neighbours said they found the dismembered body of Mwangi in a bush on Friday morning.
"The hyenas had devoured him badly and we were only able to identify him from the clothes and boots he was wearing," his colleague Martin Nzioka said.
Nzioka added that they had spent the previous day together at their workplace and that he was shocked to learn about Mwangi's fate, recalling that the deceased had moved to the area only a short while ago. Mwangi lived alone in a single mabati room.
Local leaders led by Kalimoni ward MCA Godfrey Mucheke are now calling on the government to act to contain the hyena menace, threatening to go to court over the matter.
"We cannot sit back and watch the lives of our people being snuffed out by wild animals. In fact, I understand the beasts were translocated here from the Ol Donyo Sabuk game reserve by the KWS so that they can breed better due to the favourable environment but we must value people's lives over animals," the MCA said.
Mucheke regretted that none of the victims of the hyena attacks have been compensated by the government and despite him writing several letters to the KWS over the matter, no response was forthcoming.
"We are left with no option but to go to court to seek compensation for the families of the victims since the government has turned a deaf ear to our pleas," Mucheke said.
Similarly, Kalimoni ward politician Thuita Kuria said the government must act to contain the animal-human conflict before it escalates.
"The government makes money from wildlife, but this is no excuse to let the animals kill our people. Action must be taken forthwith to end the menace," he added.
Villagers earlier told journalists that they were fearing for their children who leave very early in the morning to go to school.
"The hyenas roam in our villages even after 5:00 am when our children leave home for school," Roselyn Nduta, a mother, said.
Athi village is one of the remotest parts of Juja sub-county and lies along River Athi, which forms the border of Kiambu and Machakos counties.