7 January 2013

Rwanda: Hippo Kills Farmer in Late Night Attack

Kayonza — A stray hippopotamus from Akagera National Park killed a 51-year old man in Kayonza district at the weekend.

The body of Felecien Mbonimana of Mwurile village in Ndego sector was found in his garden on Saturday morning and taken to nearby Ndego health centre for post mortem.

The victim was presumably watching over his crops against the park animals.

Pierre Hanishuti, the deceased's neighbour, told The New Times that residents have been troubled by animals from the park for a long time.

He lamented that the victim, just like other park residents risked his life to protect crops at night.

"This is no new incident, our crops and lives are always at risk...stray animals come and destroy our crops at night," Hanishuti said.

Ndego Executive Secretary, Alex Bright Nsoro, confirmed the death of the farmer and blamed it on poor fencing.

"Farmers have no alternative, but to guard their crops from stray park animals. The dead farmer was brave enough to risk his life," he said.

In a bid to reduce human-wildlife conflicts around Akagera National Park, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), started constructing an electric fence to demarcate the park's boundaries in early 2011.

The 2.5 meters high metallic mesh crossed by three horizontally electrified cables, which was expected to run a distance of 120 kilometers, at a cost of US$ 2,764,436 is yet to be completed.

Through RDB, Government initiated an insurance fund and compensation scheme for the population for damages, Special Guarantee Fund (SGF) in 2012, to pay the people whose property was destroyed by park animals.

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