Crocodiles Harass Bugiri, Fishermen Want Them Harvested Email This Page Print This Page Visit The Publisher's Site New Vision (Kampala) June 3, 2003 Posted to the web June 3, 2003 Kampala A student who went fishing in Lake Victoria last week died when a crocodile attacked him in his canoe, reports Moses Nampala. The incident brings to 68 the number of people attacked by the reptiles in Bugiri district this year. The district Police commander, Patrick Mugizi, said Yasin Mwana, a senior two student at Dede S.S., was attacked by the reptile as he reached out for his hook in the water. Survivors said the crocodile leapt and ripped off Dede's arm and hurled him into the lake. Frantic efforts to rescue him proved futile as the reptile dragged him under. The boy's body was recovered an hour later at the landing site, with the lower limbs missing. The local authorities have appealed to the relevant authorities to come and harvest the reptiles. The Mutumba sub-county chairman, Charles Kitosi, said, "The authorities should come and save the people from the crocodiles. The natives cannot avoid the lake because it is their source of livelihood."
Crocodiles Are Breaking Families in Border Region Email This Page Print This Page African Church Information Service June 2, 2003 Posted to the web June 3, 2003 Oscar Obonyo Nairobi Crocodiles in Lake Victoria and rivers along the Uganda-Kenya border have marred economic activity in the region, and forced communities to forego social contact, basically bringing life on both sides of the border to a near standstill. Oscar Obonyo, reports. Two years after Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) embarked on an operation to cull crocodiles in Lake Victoria, residents of Tororo District continue to bury loved ones devoured by the predatory reptiles. Now residents from the area on the Uganda-Kenya border are appealing to local authorities to summarily eliminate the crocodiles. The calls come in the wake of a series of crocodile attacks. According to a village head in the region, Mr Muhamood Mayanja, more than 18 persons have so far died this year. An estimated 63 were devoured last year. Crocodile attacks are fairly common in Tororo, some 205 kilometres east of the capital city of Kampala, with women who fetch water and fishermen at a particularly high risk. "We are overwhelmed by the increasing number of people killed," laments Mayanja. Locals, still in anguish, narrate how in February this year, one of the reptiles pounced on a man identified as Joseph Othieno, when he went to Lubango landing site to bathe. Not far off in River Suo along the border, crocodiles have virtually brought life on both sides of the border to a near standstill. For long, locals have lived in fear of attack. In April, the family of Mr John Opio conducted a memorial service in his honour. Opio was mauled to death a decade ago. According to his widow, Maria, Opio was on his way home after grazing cattle across the neighbouring plains in Kenya. He was so badly mauled that whatever little of him that was left could only be buried in a box. So far, most victims include children who have been attacked while fetching water for domestic use, says District Fisheries Officer, Fred Igoma. UWA began its culling operation in mid 2001, following massive loss of human life to crocodile attacks. The authority's armed patrol hunts down the crocodiles that usually wait for their victims in shallow waters before attacking and dragging them further into the lake. Despite efforts by UWA officials and their Kenyan game department counterparts to kill them, the crocodiles have remained elusive. They only surface to cause terror and then disappear. Presently, movement across Suo river has almost ceased. The river forms part of the border between Uganda and Kenya, separating people of Busia and Tororo districts in Kenya and Uganda respectively, most of who are kinsmen. The crocodiles have marred production, forced people to erect artificial barriers and forego social contact. "We have enjoyed bathing and swimming in the river and basking along it from time immemorial. The emergence of these creatures has virtually ruined our lifestyle," mourns 67 year-old Wandera Mujivi. The menace, he observes, has also separated kinsmen on both ends of the river, who are scared of exchanging visits. The Samia, of the wider western Kenya Luhyia community is most affected. Incidentally, Moody Awori, Kenya's Minister for Home Affairs and his younger brother Aggrey Awori, presidential candidate in Uganda's last polls, represent the community, separated only by colonial boundaries. Business has equally stalled. A trader, Mr Joseph Adika, was crippled by a crocodile, which ripped off his entire sole as he ferried merchandise across River Suo. "I cannot ride a bicycle. This means that I can't meet the demands of my family anymore," says the father of five, who now supports himself on a walking stick. Miss Julia Majanja of Lumino village has also sworn never to visit the nearby river after surviving a face-to-face encounter with the reptile. She was ambushed jointly with others as she prepared to draw water, forcing her to abandon the container and flee for her dear life. Majanja can now only draw water from one of the muddy ponds in the neighbourhood, an option that worries public health officials here. The Suo, they say, is a source of relatively clean water for about 70 percent of the local population. The absence of tap water and bore holes means the remaining 30 percent of the population depends on dirty water from ponds, and exposing themselves to waterborne diseases. Tororo District, which lies north of Lake Victoria and east of Uganda's Mbale District, covers an estimated 2,597 square kilometre area. Now, its population of over 674,000 comprising of mainly Samia, Bagisu, Balugwere and Ateso communities, are yearning for a lasting solution to the carnage. An official of the state-run UWA, Mr Moses Mapesi, explains that increasing human contact with the reptiles largely causes attacks. UWA accordingly aims to help villagers co-exist with wild animals. "The government should also provide water points and designated fishing sites so that people do not interfere with the crocodile areas," suggests Mapesi. Residents are, however, not amused by UWA's proposals, and accuse the authority of placing animal safety above that of people. Since the problem at hand affects people from both countries, locals suggest that apart from family and domestic chit-chats, the Awori brothers had better start talking business as well.