Eight-year-old Duncan Okemwa was jovial before the baboon attack. He was even playing with other pupils at Flamingo primary school in Nakuru just before they were to attend a Mathematics lesson.

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In between the normal screams and folly of youthful play, a baboon from the Lake Nakuru National park invaded the school.

It is a normal encounter according to the pupils and so they continued to play.

What they thought to be a normal visitation by the baboon turned out to be an encounter that would end in tears and untold pain for an 8-year-old boy.

The baboon is said to have fiercely attacked the pupil, leaving him with serious injuries on the arm.

Okemwa was rushed to Heshima hospital in Kivumbini estate but was referred to War Memorial hospital in Nakuru town.

The hospital matron Patricia Musale said the patient was received at the hospital with profuse bleeding and was in deep pain.

She said bleeding was controlled at the private facility.

The boy has since stabilized.

War Memorial Hospital matron, Patricia Musale. 

Ms Musale observes that baboons like any other wild animals may also spread diseases like rabies and tetanus to human beings.

His father Jesse Mwangi is however not able to raise Sh9,000 medical bill and has asked hospital bill required to have him discharged.

Okemwa’s father Jessi Mwangi, who is a casual labourer says he reported the matter to the KWS offices in Nakuru with an intention of getting compensated.

He was however informed that according to the law, baboons do not fall under categories of wild animals for compensation.

“My boy is an innocent victim of baboon attack. KWS should take full responsibility and clear the medical bill,”  THE FATHER SAID during an interview with Afya Watch at the hospital.

Karanja Mwangi, the school head teacher confirmed that KWS has distanced itself from taking responsibility.

“Management of the school went to notify KWS officers about the attack but we were surprised after they said they could not cater for the medical bill,” said the teacher.

Mwangi confirmed that baboon attacks have been reported on several occasions when the animals have strayed to the school.

In the past years, he said KWS officers could drive the animals back to the park but currently, no measure has been set in place to ensure learners are safe while in school.

Baboons flowing from the park are higher during break and lunchtime, when children are taking meals, making it difficult for them to control their movement. Baboon attacks increase during those times.

“There is increased cases of human wildlife conflict and unfortunately, no measures have been set in place to ensure learners are safe while in school,” said the head teacher.

Nakuru County KWS Senior Warden Muteru Njauini confirmed that the incident was reported to his office but no measures were taken because KWS does not compensate destruction caused by baboons and monkeys.

Njauini said he will notify KWS headquarters about the incident to clear the medical bill of the pupil.

To reduce cases of human-wildlife conflict, he said KWS officers are conducting public education among residents who reside along the park.

Often, residents have been accused of feeding the monkeys. It is what drives them from the park according to KWS.

Residents living along the Lake Nakuru National Park have accused Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) of failing to manage human-wildlife conflict that continues to harm and destroy their property.

KWS on its part attributes increased human-wildlife conflict to human encroachment that has blocked traditional routes taken by wild animals in various parts of the country.

 

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