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Crocodile Named 'Osama Bin Laden' Terrorized African Village, Ate 80 People

Image for representation via Canva.

Image for representation via Canva.

While wildlife campaigners have criticised Osama’s fate, Luganga villagers believe that it was let lightly off the hook.

The infamous Lake Victoria, largest in Africa and the second-largest in the world, is home to a 75-year-old Nile crocodile named Osama, which has eaten over 80 people in a nearby village. The 16-feet-long reptile was named after Osama Bin Laden and is responsible for killing almost one-tenth of the population, including children, from a small village in Luganga between 1991 and 2005, reports Daily Star.

According to the report, it has resided in Lake Victoria for most of its life and would jump on the opportunity to attack children as they collected water from the lake. Eventually, the crocodile terrorised people by jumping out of the water into fisherman’s boats and would carry off people to eat them. In one horrifying incident, a fisherman was mauled to death by the crocodile, and just the fisherman’s ripped clothes were found floating on the water.

Another such attack was witnessed by a survivor, Paul, whose brother didn’t make it. Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, he recalled that dreadful day when he was rowing in the back of the boat while Paul was fishing in the front before Osama leapt in and snatched his brother. Osama jumped in vertically, submerging the back of the boat and latched onto Peter’s leg, trying to pull him into the water. But after a struggle of about five minutes as Peter held onto the boat, Paul heard a tearing sound before Peter, his brother shouted that the crocodile had broken his leg. Eventually, Peter let go of the side of the boat and was dragged into the lake. His head and arm were found a few days later.

In 2005, the petrified villagers asked for assistance to get rid of the beast and it was eventually captured by 50 local men and wildlife officials after a stake-out that lasted seven days and seven nights. Now, he is the property of Uganda Crocs Ltd, a company that makes crocodile-skin handbags and sells them in countries like Italy and South Korea. While wildlife campaigners have criticised Osama’s fate, Luganga villagers believe that it was let lightly off the hook.

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first published:June 15, 2021, 12:21 IST