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Living in a village beside a beautiful lake sounds lovely – unless your neighbour is a giant man-eating crocodile.
Lake Victoria in Uganda is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest in the world, but it is perhaps most famous for Osama, a 75-year-old Nile crocodile responsible for killing and eating 80 people.
The 16ft-long beast terrorised the residents of Luganga a village in Uganda, for years. From 1991 to 2005, in a particularly bloodthirsty spell, he wiped out a tenth of the village's population.
Stories swirled about how the killer croc would snatch children as they filled buckets of water at the shore of the lake, or swim beneath fishing boats and purposefully capsize them.
Conniving, ruthless, unstoppable – villagers were convinced Osama, named after the notorious terrorist behind the 9/11 attack, was immortal or, as some whispered, Satan himself.
One man witnessed – and survived – an attack by the fearsome reptile, but his brother was not so lucky.
Have you ever seen a crocodile up close? Tell us in the comments below!
The Sydney Morning Herald spoke to Paul Kyewalyanga, who was rowing in the back of his boat as his brother Peter fished from the front when Osama leapt in and snatched him.
He recalled: “Osama just emerged from the water vertically and flopped into the boat.
“The back of the boat where I was sitting was submerged.”
The terrified fisherman called for help, but the crocodile had latched onto Peter’s leg with his giant jaws and began to pull at him, trying to get him into the water.
Paul added: “Peter was clutching the side screaming. They fought for about five minutes until I heard a tearing sound.
“Peter shouted, ‘He’s broken my leg.’ Then he let go and was dragged into the lake. A few days later we found his head and his arm.”
Villagers were more frightened than ever before with some even waking up in the middle of the night and feeling compelled to pray for protection from the aquatic predator.
Their pleas for Godly intervention were finally answered in 2005 when the monster croc was captured.
After a stakeout lasting for seven days and nights, a group made up of 50 local men and wildlife officials lured the beast in to a trap using a pair of cow’s lungs as bait.
As Osama jumped up to grab the lungs, he inadvertently bit in to a snare which snaked around his teeth.
The group then worked tirelessly to restrain the thrashing beast with ropes and hoisted him on to the back of a pick-up truck – but that was not the end of Osama.
Villagers eager to slay the monstrous fiend were told that it wasn't allowed.
Officials told them: "Even he has rights. He cannot be killed with impunity."
Instead he was given to the owners of Uganda Crocs to be used in their breeding programme.
They hope that he will sire hundreds or even thousands more giant crocodiles whose skin can be turned in to handbags for fashionistas in countries such as Italy and South Korea.
The farm also doubles up as a tourist attraction, and members of the public can pop in to see the 5,000 crocodiles being fattened up ready for slaughter.
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