Namibia: Elephant Harasses Ngoma Community

AN ELEPHANT that crosses from Botswana at night has been harassing community members at Ngoma village in the Zambezi region for a year.

Ngoma is about 70 kilometres from Katima Mulilo, and it is at the border between Namibia and Botswana near the Chobe National Park.

Community members told the media yesterday, they want this problem elephant put down before it kills someone, saying it has already damaged their crop fields, gardens and other property.

"We have reported the problem to Salambala conservancy officials but they have failed to assist us. This elephant is a threat to our lives as we do not have toilets and use the bush. Imagine, if we encounter it out there," said Thadius Namamba (37), whose garden was ravaged by the elephant on Tuesday.

Another resident, Agnes Mutwa Mushabati (73), recalled how she was woken up by the noise at around 02h00 on Tuesday, as the elephant destroyed her yard.

"When I came out in the morning, my reed fence had been torn apart. I was afraid it would break my house, built with mud. The government must intervene before something grave happens," she said.

The pensioner added that she does not have money to repair her reed fence and fears if it stays open, the elephant will enter her yard again.

A security guard at Ngoma clinic, Ntafela Mabuku, saw the elephant twice while on night shift, as it destroyed the fence at the clinic and ate vegetables at the nurses houses.

"It came on 26 May and again two weeks ago, while I was on duty. I tried chasing it away but failed. I ran into the guard room and remained there until it left," she said.

A nurse at the clinic, who wished to remain anonymous, said they fear that their cars, which are parked in the open, might also be damaged.

"The elephant has destroyed our garden. We are even afraid for our cars as the elephant roams freely in the clinic yard," she said.

This elephant also ripped apart the fence at Ngoma Combined School on its way back to Botswana.

The ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism's regional chief warden, Morgan Saisai, told The Namibian yesterday that their office had been made aware of the elephant by the conservancy and they are in the process of asking the minister to declare it a problem animal.

"We are aware and measures are being pursued for the minister to declare it a problem animal," he said.

The ministry's spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, yesterday called on the community to embrace animals crossing into the country from Botswana because they are beneficial for the communities in terms of tourism.

However, if such an animal is identified to cause extensive damage properties poses a danger to communities, it will be identified and put down when the need arises.

"We are thus urging community members not to take matters into their own hands when they encounter such troublesome animals. They should report it to the nearest conservancy office for them to handle the matter," he said.

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