Stray elephants kill expectant mother, injure one near Murchison falls park

Monday April 15 2019

A herd of elephants Murchison falls national

A herd of elephants Murchison falls national game park in northwest. COURTESY PHOTO  


A pregnant woman was on Sunday attacked and killed by stray elephants near the Murchison falls national game park in northwest Uganda.
A pupil at Aber primary school in Oyam District was also left nursing serious injuries after the attack.

Authorities say more than 30 elephants wandered from the park on Sunday night and terrorized villages in Kamdini and Aber sub-counties.
The elephants invaded the home of Mr Moses Ogwok at Onea A’ village, Nora parish in Kamdini sub-county and killed his wife Dorcas Awino, 23, who was seven months pregnant.

Mr Francis Okello Olwa, a relative to Ms Awino told Daily Monitor on Monday that she was killed metres away from the game rangers’ base.
“I am really very disappointed with the game rangers. We have lost relatives to crocodiles in River Nile and now we have lost this pregnant mother who was attacked by elephants from her home. The rangers did not respond during the attack yet they were informed about the presence of the elephants in the area,” Mr Okello lamented.
The LCIII chairman of Aber Sub-county, Mr Bosco Olweny said four elephants also strayed in his area and attacked a pupil of Aber primary school.

He said the elephants injured Daniel Oryang, a 14-year-old primary five pupil and he is undergoing treatment at Atapara hospital where he is admitted.
Mr Olweny wondered why people who are killed or injured by stray elephants within the community are not compensated yet they are not allowed to kill any animal which attacks them.
“When we go and kill any animal in the park, we are killed by game rangers, but if these animals come and attack us, we are not compensated. Why does government value the life of an animal more than human beings yet we are the voters who put government in power!” Mr Olweny wondered.

However, the Karuma conservation area Chief Warden, Mr Wilfred Chemutai accused residents of provoking the elephants before they turned rowdy.
He told this reporter that he had been “reliably informed that some of the locals were throwing spears at the animals” before they became violent.
"We responded in time, but unfortunately one person had already been killed. Our rangers shot in the air and we managed to round up all the elephants in Kamdini and Aber except one which we failed to trace in Aber. However, our rangers are still on the ground looking for it," Mr Chemutai said.

The Oyam Resident District Commissioner, Ms Jillian Akullo called for restraint saying the elephants have been forced out of their sanctuary- by the prolonged drought- to look for food.
She urged the residents to restrain from attacking the animals because they can become violent and cause more deaths.

“Not all of them have gone back to the park. I have been told some of them are hidden somewhere. I am appealing to our people in those areas of Kamdini and Aber to be very careful,” she said.
This is not the first time elephants have strayed from the park and caused damage.
Last month, a herd of about 40 elephants invaded Loro Sub-county, located about 60 kilometers away from the park, and caused a lot of havoc.