The Imam of Toobu village in the Tunkia Chiefdom, Kenema District, Ajuba Kanneh alias Kamoh Kanneh was on Saturday, 19th April 2014 killed by a warthog (bush hog).
According to Councilor Stanley Mohamed Jabati of Ward 61 in Kenema district informed the press that the Imam left his village with one of his apprentices to attend the funeral of a relative.
He said that it was on their way back near a village called Moribanyema that they came across the bush hog which immediately attacked them. He said the Imam could not run faster and was caught in one of the thrusts of the animal, which sent him on the ground. The apprentice the Imam was with was saved from the animal’s wrath because he was able to climb a tree in the bush.
According to the Councilor, news of the Toobu Imam’s predicament was told to the people of Moribanyema by a bike rider who happened to see the incident and was forced to turn back by the animal’s ferocity.
Youth of the village gathered themselves and rushed to the scene of the incident only to find the Imam in a pool of blood and dead. They however later spotted the killer warthog by the blood stains on its body hair and was ambushed and subsequently killed.
Councilor Jabati said the youth later realized that the animal had freed itself from a trap, which he said may have infuriated the animal.
The corpses of both the Imam and the warthog were taken to the Kenema Police Division. Hundreds of Kenema city residents rushed to the police division on hearing what many said was a mysterious story.
The body of the killed Imam was later handed over to family members by the police for burial. The body was thereon conveyed to the deceased’s resident village for religious burial.
For the animal, it was taken to Kingsway Corner Market where bush meats are sold.
Many people in Kenema have since been blaming the Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP) for their failure to restrain animals under their conservation.
Responding, the Senior Supervisor, Community Development and Outreach Department of the GRNP, Francis Massaqoui said when any staff of the GRNP sees a dead animal with people their responses have always been that it not from the Gola Forest, but when a wild animal causes harm in any part of the district they always cast the blame on the GRNP.
He says on that faithful day he was on his way to Zimmi from Kenema when he arrived at the scene were the animal killed the imam five minutes after the animal was killed by the people. He took snap shot of the event and read the coordinate on his Global Positioning System (GPS) which showed that from that point to reserved boundary in the Tunkia chiefdom is 25km or 16 miles. He says that particular animal Red River Hog known as Potamochoerus Porcus locally known as bush hog is not protected by government and it is the least concern by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
He however sympathized with the people and described the incident as unfortunate, but explained to the people that the animals in the bush usually cause such havocs when their lives are threatened by any means or may have given birth and someone has decided to take away the offsprings.
He said the animals in the reserved area are not tied to a rope to restrain their movements. He said the law only covers them when they are within the reservation perimeter. He however called on all and sundry to conserve the forest as it is good for the nation.
By Saffa Moriba
Tuesday May 06, 2014