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

NPR4 min read
Hard-Line Brexiteer Boris Johnson To Become Britain's New Prime Minister
Johnson will inherit a slate of problems from Theresa May, including a small majority in Parliament, government resignations and escalations with Iran. And then there's Brexit.
NPR2 min read
Ukrainian President's Party Wins Snap Elections In Bid To Consolidate Power
President Volodymyr Zelensky, who gained fame by playing a fictional president on television, hopes a new parliament will give him the clout to follow through on his promise to tackle corruption.
NPR3 min readSociety
'A Small Part Of A Serious Problem': Criminals Hired As Police Officers In Alaska
A joint investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found that in one town, every officer had been convicted of domestic violence within the last 10 years.