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Jumbo, croc attack victim seeks help

by Staff reporter
23 Oct 2022 at 09:13hrs | Views
A BINGA man who miraculously survived an elephant and crocodile attack that left him clinging onto the straws of life is appealing for financial assistance to enable him to undergo further treatment outside the country.

Mr Winders Muleya had both his legs and right arm amputated at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo following the attack that took place in Mlibizi River three weeks ago. Upon his arrival at Mpilo, a day after the attack doctors were forced to amputate Muleya's right hand and leg which had been extensively damaged. An infection on the other leg and damaged muscle led to its amputation.

Mr Muleya is lucky to be alive after he wrestled a crocodile which attacked him when he jumped into Mlibizi River to escape a charging elephant. He narrated his horror encounter to Sunday News from his hospital bed at Mpilo last week before his departure for neighbouring Zambia.

"It was in the afternoon at around 1pm and we were driving our cattle to some grazing area. So, we would take turns to watch them while the other went to fetch for relish in the river which was a challenge to get. Since it was the two of us, we felt this was the best way to guard against Zambian cattle rustlers. On that particular day it was my turn so I crossed the Mlibizi River and got to an island," said Mr Muleya.

Once on the island he suddenly realised that there was a herd of five elephants coming towards him. Efforts to scare them away by beating a container served only to infuriate the jumbos.

"I went on the side where there was one elephant and continued to make noise with the container. It charged and I jumped into the river out of instinct with the intention of going under water but little did I know that the area was infested with crocodiles. I was attacked by a crocodile which grabbed my hand before breaking it as it rolled several times as I tried to fight it off. It eventually let go of my hand and went for my legs," he winced in pain at the memory.

Luckily there were people fishing on the other side some 100 metres away who were alerted by his screams for help.

"They found me wrestling with a crocodile which was trying to tear my leg. It missed my leg and got hold my pair of shorts instead. I then mounted it while holding its head out of the water before I slipped my hand into its mouth, an action which caused it to calm down. However, another one made an attempt to attack but I was saved when the five men arrived in the nick of time armed with logs."

On hearing noise in the water as the rescuers were using sticks and logs to hit the water, the other crocodiles retreated with the one that Muleya had shoved his hand in its mouth eventually releasing him.

"The crocodile which had my hand in its mouth released me when one of the men bravely came closer to me and drove a log in its belly several times. I however, almost lost my other hand as I was injured while pulling it out."

The 42-year-old fisherman and father of three said the incident has left him with nothing to survive on as he can no longer go fishing because of his disability.

"I survived on fishing prior to this incident and this has negatively impacted my livelihood. I have children that go to school and need the basic necessities of life. I'm incapacitated and appeal to the world to assist."

Mr Muleya's cousin brother, Mr Tendayi Zulu said they were appealing for donations to pay hospital bills.

"We really are in need of help to clear the hospital bill which had accrued to $261 780. We have only managed to pay $50 000 to Mpilo. We had to seek further medical treatment for Winders in Zambia where he is admitted to a hospital in Livingstone. We are appealing to the public and corporate world to assist in meeting the bills. For further information on donations my contacts are 0776 808 607," said Mr Zulu.

Mr Muleya who is admitted to a Livingstone hospital is understood to be recovering well with some tests having been done to assist doctors on his care and treatment. His predicament has touched members of the public with one Christopher Mabika initiating a fundraising through social media. The initiative received positive support as people from all walks of life sent various donations with award winning poet, Obert Dube donating a wheelchair.

Source - The Sunday News