17 January 2019

Uganda: Residents Cry Out for Help As Elephants Wreak Havoc

Oyam — More than 1,000 residents of Kamdini Sub-county in Oyam District are living in fear and counting losses after stray elephants destroyed their property recently.

According to residents, about 40 elephants from Murchison Falls National Park have since November last year continuously strayed and destroyed gardens and houses, besides attacking people mainly farmers in the area.

The worst affected villages are Amati, Bedmot, Dicunyi, Nora, Akuridia, Onea 'A', Onea B', Bombay, Apala B, Kwoyo-atar, Lela A, Lela B and Amati B.

"People are so scared because the elephants are attacking them, destroying gardens and uprooting grass-thatched huts," Mr Richard Ekuka, the Amati village chairperson told Daily Monitor on Tuesday.

Mr Ekuka revealed that last month stray elephants killed Sadick Odongo, 15, a Primary Six pupil of Amati Primary School.

"The most challenging thing is that these animals come here every day, cause destruction and nothing is done about it," he added.

Mr Silvia Ewany, a resident said the stray elephants destroyed three acres of her cassava farm.

"I will remain forever poor since government is not taking any action to protect us from these stray elephants," she said.

"We sell cassava to get some money for educating our children and because of the destruction caused by the wildlife, our hope is fading away," she added. She alleged that local leaders have remained silent on their plight.

Mr Solomon Ogwal, a resident, who lost two acres of cassava and a half an acre of banana plantation, said efforts to scare away the elephants have proved futile.

"When we bang jerrycans or blow vuvuzela, the animals are not scared," he said.

Mr Sam Ogwang Alunyu, the Kamdini LC3 chairman, said the sub-county has started digging holes and trenches in attempt to prevent stray elephants from crossing to their side.

Mr Alunyu said last year, Members of Parliament from Lango sub-region resolved to fix an electric fence within the park boundaries but the plan has not yet been implemented.

He urged residents to protect their children by not allowing them to play far from their homes and avoid sending them alone to uproot cassava from the gardens.

Efforts to get a comment from Uganda Wildlife Authority were fruitless since the authority's spokesperson, Mr Jossy Muhangi, did not answer our calls to his known mobile telephone.

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