FREETOWN: A Sierra Leonean trader was mauled to death by a crocodile while bathing in a stream in the east of the country, a local chief told the reporter on Thursday.
"It was a dreadful scene as (Bailor) Sow fought ferociously to ward off the attack to no avail but was overpowered when the crocodile snapped off his leg sending streaks of blood from the gaping wound into the river," said deputy chief Alimamy Lahai of Lowoma village in the eastern Kenema district.
“The Awoko” newspaper reported that the crocodile was later killed by a local hunter who found the victim's leg in its stomach.
Crocodile-related deaths and sightings are rare in Sierra Leone, said local environmentalist Sam Haffner.
"Although various species of crocodiles are in the country, they seldom come out into the open to human beings except if they are threatened or starving," he said.
He said the last high-profile sighting of a crocodile was in 2007 when a medium-seized one washed up on Lumley Beach in the capital.
The country has a small population of crocodiles, which are classified as an endangered species under the country's wildlife act.
Three species are known to exist here including the Nile crocodile which can grow up to five metres in length, the slender-snouted crocodile living in forest streams and the dwarf crocodile found in mangrove swamps.
The Nile crocodile is responsible for numerous deadly attacks on humans annually in Sub-Saharan Africa, many of which go unreported.