The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Rwf300 Million Earmarked for Victims of Wild Animal Attacks

Plans have been finalised to start compensating more than 1,300 families, who are victims of attacks by wild animals from national parks, officials of the Special Grant Fund have said.

Speaking at a town hall meeting at the weekend, Bernardin Ndashimye, the director-general of the Fund, said compensation will start from Nyagatare in two weeks before extending to Kayonza district.

"The Fund is there to help people who had accidents and declared it. We don't want people to lose their limbs or property and not get compensated," said Ndashimye.

The recipients will be compensated for destroyed agricultural products, lost or injured lives and domestic animals killed by wild animals.

In Nyagatare district, 279 cases of various magnitudes were recorded, while in Kayonza, at least 1,000 cases will be addressed.

The officials will spend more than Rwf300m on compensation in Nyagatare and Kayonza districts alone.

"The target we have is to be as quick as we can, sometimes the delay is due to results we need from Police or medical reports from hospitals before we pay the victims or the family of the victims," Ndashimye said, adding that local leaders helped in identifying the claimants.

The officials said, among their challenges, are multiple and questionable compensation claims for damaged property and late reporting.

The payment follows investigation based on the reports from the Police.

In cases of damage to property or injury to life of humans, victims are expected to contact the Police within seven days and two months to the Fund.

The Fund says it does not tolerate delays.

However, officials said they are planning to put some money at sector level so that minor claims can be handled at sector level.

Verifying claims

Florence Nibakure, the in-charge of compensation at the Fund, said they not just receive documents, but also follow up on them from the local level to establish the veracity of claims.

People who are affected say they have been waiting for payment for along time.

"There is an old man who was seriously injured by a buffalo; when he was taken to CHUK, he was sent back to Nyagatare Hospital. He was so helpless. There are other people who face such problems and are unable to find officials to report to," said Simon Hakizimana from Karangazi in Nyagatare district.

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