August 22, 2012 – Hungry Crocodiles Devour Handler
A one of a kind show for holiday revelers turned tragic as crocodiles swooped on a 70-year- old man and tore him into shreds in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire.
Ivorian local newspaper, Info Soir, said the septuagenarian, Diko Toke, had been the handler of the crocodiles for many years, until tragedy struck.
Toke regularly entertained guests, both local and international, by moving around the crocodiles and lifting their tails for memorial photos.
According to the newspaper, Toke had gone into the lake to feed the crocodiles and alligators at 5 p.m. on Monday, when one of the crocodiles held his long robe.
“The old man, according to the eyewitnesses, waved the crocodile aside, but the biggest and oldest among the crocodiles, known as “Prime Minister’’, opened its mouth and seized him.
“The animal threw him into the water and started tearing him into shreds to the horror of the many guests by the lake, who were enjoying the end of Ramadan,” the newspaper reported.
This was how Info Soir captured the horrific event:
“Tourists who wanted memorial photographs, invited the “old” man to get closer to the crocodiles for shooting. That man accepted without problem since it was not his first experience. Thus in the photo below, we see the old Diko holding in his hand the tail of a crocodile. After the show offered to visitors, the man who feared nothing, was trying to leave.
” Then suddenly, an animal grasped the hem of robe he was wearing. It was not the first time that would happen. Diko, unafraid, used his machete to get rid of the animal. believing he had done so, he fell down and this was where began the misfortune of those who, for many years, had taken care of the animals. Immediately, the most colossal and oldest crocodile, nicknamed” chef de cabinet” swung into action. He grabbed the old man with his big mouth and the pushed him into the middle of the water. Then it began to shred him like a common piece of meat. Diko Toke, became the prey of the animal as he was eaten, under the helpless gaze of men and women who came as tourists.”
The Prefect of the Region, Andre Epkonon, has announced Toke’s death.
The crocodile lakes, situated behind the presidential villa of the late Ivorian President Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Yamoussoukro is a tourist attraction.