NPR

The Unbelievable Crocodile Problem In Mozambique

How did the country become a hotbed of croc attacks? The answers, found in the new book "Go Tell The Crocodiles," help explain why the country is mired in dysfunction and poverty.
Portrait of a Nile crocodile. Source: Matthijs Kuijpers/Getty Images

The hamlet of Bawa was in uproar. A pretty, 20-year-old villager named Amelia had vanished shortly after heading to wash her dishes in the shallow river that runs through this remote western corner of Mozambique. Crocodiles often lurk just below the surface, and over the last decade this community of about a thousand people had lost almost 50 of their number to attacks. So it seemed clear that Amelia was the latest victim.

But it wasn't long before blame was shifted elsewhere: Practically the entire village became convinced that Amelia's aunt, an older widow named Liveness Mandar, had turned a magic charm into a live crocodile and ordered it to kill Amelia. And then ... Mandar herself confessed to the crime.

The story of why Mandar chose to make by Rowan Moore Gerety.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from NPR

NPR2 min read
Jacob Collier: Tiny Desk Concert
As the the NPR staff gathered to watch his performance, Jacob Collier sprinted full bore down the hallway for his set, hardly able to contain his creative energy or enthusiasm.
NPR2 min read
Some Title X Recipients Will Have More Time To Comply With New Abortion Rules
The rules block recipients of federal grants from referring patients for abortion. The Trump administration says groups working in "good faith" will have until Aug. 19 to provide written assurance.
NPR3 min read
In India's Assam State, Residents Of River Islands Face Uncertainty Over Citizenship
Some 4 million people, many Muslim and impoverished, were excluded from a 2018 official register of citizens. Photographer CK Vijayakumar visited Assam to learn more about the challenges they face.