- All the elated Samuel Muraguri wanted was to touch the wild animals he had only seen on television
- The trained welder was on his way to get nappier grass for his cattle when he heard news elephants had invaded their village
- He went on and removed his t-shirt which he thought would slow him down and chased down the animals armed with a machete
A 22-year-old man from Kahuaga village of Kanyenyaini Ward in Kangema, Muranga County has become an unsung hero.
This was after Samuel Muraguri Mwangi was photographed chasing two elephants which had raided the village while armed with a machete only.
The two elephants had strayed from their habitat at the Aberdare forest on Sunday, May 20, and walked a distance of about 10 kilometres into the village.
The marauding elephants left a trail of destruction including killing a cow belonging to Evans Gaithakwa who is a farmer at Mukumu village in the neighbouring Kiharu constituency
The photos of the bachelor and a trained welder at Kanyenyaini trading centre went viral on social media, attracting mixed reactions from Kenyans both in the country and in the diaspora.
Most of them wondered how a man in his sane mind could embark on such a life threatening expedition.
In the picture, the man dressed in a pair of gumboots, a black vest and a marvin is seen raising a machete while chasing the two elephants which were passing near a toilet in a home covered in nappier grass and tea bushes.
Muraguri explained after he heard there were two unwelcome visitors in the village, he abandoned what he was doing and rushed to see them as he had never seen an elephant before.
“To me, this was an opportunity of a lifetime and so I decided to exploit it to the fullest and ensure I saw the jumbos as I had only seen them on television and in pictures," he narrated.
"'I received the news while I was preparing to go and cut nappier grass for our cows and so I was armed with a panga but before I rushed to go and see them, I decided to remove my shirt and leave it at home as I realized it could prevent me from running to arrive in good time to see the two giant animals,“ he went on.
The man added he found the two animals which he described as “mobile kitchens” in a forest of overgrown eucalyptus trees and threw sticks at them so they could move so he could have a better glimpse of them.
Muraguri said they left their abode after they were flushed by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) wardens and the crowd started to run after them.
He added their run was short lived after they stopped and turned back to charge at the people who were ahead of him.
“Armed with the panga, I gathered courage and took on the elephants head on and they turned back and broke into a run as I sprinted after them,
"People who had gathered and those who watched the spectacle from a distance felt offended that I had chased the elephants and had denied them a chance to see them well,
"Scores of others called out my name loudly urging me to stop chasing them so that they could slow and catch up with them while some asked me to chase them to their direction so they could see them," the welder narrated.
Muraguri noted he ran after the elephants for about three kilometres before they outsmarted him and that his aim was to run and touch them.
He said the nearest distance he ran close to the elephants was about 20 feet behind them and that could he have bridged that gap, he could have touched either their tails of legs.
- "Up to now I don’t know where I gathered the courage to chase them and why they feared me yet they were charging at other people including those they encountered on the way as they ran back to the forest,
"I also condemn those people who say my decision to run after the elephants resulted from me abusing bhang. I have never taken bhang and I was in my right senses,” he remarked and disclosed he had received overwhelming messages and calls from people following his action.
At Kanyenyaini trading centre, he is the man of the moment attracting a lot of attention from locals. He was even nicknamed Muraguri wa Njogu which translates to Muraguri the elephant man.
Some of the people who spotted him and those who have seen the photo describe it as a scene from the National Geographic, an international TV programme that serialises wild animals.
The photo of Muraguri chasing after the two jumbos was taken by Habel Karanja Magochi alias Habel Karanja Ngugi who is an advocate based in Murang'a and Thika towns who told TUKO.co.ke the incident happened when he had travelled home to visit his parents.
He said after he spotted the young man chasing after the elephants, he decided to take the photo.
“I realised it was captivating and it was a picture that speaks a thousand words. I describe the man as courageous and his brave act demonstrates that in my village and by extension in Kangema, there are heroes although he courted death by getting close to the animals," the advocate said.
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