BRAVE villagers from Jotsholo, Matabeleland North tracked down a crocodile that had devoured a boy (11), killed it with machetes before skinning it and recovering some of the boy's body parts that it had swallowed.
They had already recovered other parts in Kana River following the attack last Sunday.
The crocodile attacked Mphathi Ndlovu while he was swimming with a friend, Promoter Ndlovu (14), police confirmed.
The bizarre incident occurred at Kana 6 Village 1 under Chief Mabhikwa.
The chief said villagers should heed warnings to keep away from rivers as they risked drowning or being attacked by crocodiles.
Villagers told the police that the crocodile killed Mphathi as he swam across the river and went deep down into the water as it feasted on him, but later resurfaced with the remaining body parts.
"The villagers tracked down the crocodile and went into the river, where more crocodiles could have been lurking and killed it. They dissected it to remove the body parts it had consumed," said a police source.
Matabeleland North acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Eglon Nkala said the incident occurred last Sunday at around 5pm.
"I can confirm receiving a report of a boy from Chief Mabhikwa area who was attacked and killed by a crocodile while swimming in Kana River. A search party was dispatched to look for the body. The crocodile resurfaced with it. Villagers killed the crocodile and cut it up to remove the boy's body parts that it had swallowed," he said.
Asst Insp Nkala said the villagers burnt the crocodile and buried its ashes.
"They took away the boy's remains and buried them," he said.
He warned members of the public against playing in water bodies.
"This year we had too much rains and it is obvious crocodiles are certainly there in our rivers. Villagers should not risk their lives by swimming or trying to cross the flooded rivers," said Asst Insp Nkala.
A neighbour only identified as Moyo said when Mphathi was attacked by the crocodile, Promoter ran back to the village and raised alarm.
"We informed other villagers and we armed ourselves with axes and machetes and embarked on a search for the crocodile. We couldn't let it go with our child's body parts and we were avoiding the fact that it would soon attack another person.
"We found it guarding the body. We trooped into the river and attacked it. It fought back refusing to give away the boy's remains. In the end we killed it and ripped it open to remove the body parts it had swallowed," he said.
Moyo said it was a very sad incident but they had since buried the boy, whose body was in pieces.
"We burnt the crocodile as its body is also poisonous and buried its ashes," he said.
Kana village head, Mr Muziwakhe Ndlovu said Mphathi was the latest victim of a crocodile attack in the area.
"Four villagers have been killed by crocodiles this month alone," he said.