BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Nigerian charmer captures deadly cobra
The water  Cobra
The killer cobras has been terrorising residents for months
By Amina Waziri in Kano

A mysterious snake charmer in the northern Nigeria state of Kano claims to have captured a deadly cobra whose bite is believed by locals to have killed 20 people and injured many more in the past few months.

A short old man named as Mallam Umaru Dorah carried a big sack containing the snake with him to the state governor's office on Wednesday.

He lit up a small fire, sprinkled a powdered substance over it and minutes later the snake emerged

Many people saw the 4m-long cobra with shiny black eyes and long tongue when he removed it from the bag.

Local villagers had employed the charmer in an effort to stop the deaths that had left survivors needing treatment at government medical centres.

Jumping over windows

Mr Dorah told the deputy state governor that he had been looking for the cobra for two days when he came across a cave by a fallen baobab tree.

He said he lit a small fire and sprinkled a powdered substance over it. Minutes later the snake emerged.

He said the snake, which he believed to be very old, did not possess supernatural powers as many in Kano had believed.


"I do not have the power to catch supernatural things. I only catch snakes and this is a natural snake."

The charmer said that people in Rijiyar Zaki village on the outskirts on Kano may have provoked the snake by killing its mate and offspring.

I have plenty of snakes in my house. My children play with them

The deputy governor gave him a reward equivalent to $900 in cash and asked him to go back to the village and ensure there were no more snakes lurking in the undergrowth.

The official said he wanted the cobra preserved as a museum piece. But the charmer said he could not kill it, but would ensure it was harmless.

See also:

22 Feb 01 | South Asia
Snakes provide an antidote to poverty
Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories