Redcliff — In a tragic incident, a form one pupil from Redcliff was mauled to death by crocodiles while four of his friends escaped death by a whisker Sunday afternoon.
Ali Phiri (14), a Batanai (Zisco) High School learner, was attacked by the reptiles when he was having a casual swim in Kwekwe River with his four friends.
When NewZimbabwe.com visited his funeral wake at the family place in Torwood, his devastated uncle confirmed the tragic incident.
"The deceased's father was the one who was supposed to give you a full statement about the tragedy but unfortunately he is not around as he is sorting out burial papers," he said, while preferring not to be named.
"What I can however tell you is that it is true that my nephew was attacked by crocodiles when he had gone out to swim with his friends. This is a great tragedy to the family as we are still trying to come to terms with the loss."
Outgoing Redcliff council deputy mayor Vincent Masiiwa said the incident also came as a shock to the community.
"We are saddened by the passing of such a young person through such a tragic incident. The community is still shocked," he said.
Munyaradzi Munikwa, who is Redcliff Municipality Ward 2 council-elect and a close family friend, said the incident has unnerved residents as they use the river as a water source.
"This is a tragedy and a dark day for the family to have the youngster mauled by reptiles. He died a very painful death," he said.
Munikwa, who was part of the rescue team, said they tried everything to rescue the boy but it was too late to save him.
"Our appeal as a community is for the intervention of the department of Parks and Wildlife. We understand there are more than six crocodiles in the river and they are a menace to the community. To date, we have lost six people in that river a solution is needed," he said.