by John Muyamba
Ngone villagers were left shocked and speechless after an elephant charged a homestead, killing a 57-year-old woman and injuring a three-year-old boy.
The incident occurred on Friday night at Ngone along the Kavango River, some 20 kilometres outside Rundu in the Kavango East Region. According to sources who were near the scene of the attack the lone elephant charged at the homestead after a pack of dogs barked at it.
The 57-year-old woman, who was identified as Tjangano Tjivi, and her daughter and grandchildren were sleeping outside when the elephant attacked them at night at around 23h00, according to Anna Maliti, the deceased’s daughter.
“We were sleeping outside when the elephant came. We ran to safety and my mom went in that direction and I ran to my cousins’ place. Later we came back with other family members and were looking for her, but we found her dead near her homestead in the early morning hours,” Maliti said.
The old woman died after the elephant gored her body through to the back with its tusks, breaking several bones in the process and killing her on the spot. Except for the deceased’s grandson, three-year-old Kandjimi Muhoka, the rest of the family escaped unharmed.
One of the neighbours said: “When the dogs started barking the elephant ran into the homestead where the dogs were. The dogs ran away and we all woke up and ran in different directions, as it broke down the hut where my grandmother was sleeping, but luckily she escaped unhurt.”
Ngone village headman Gervasius Shampapi expressed dissatisfaction over what he referred to as “ignorant nature conservation staff at the ministry of environment and tourism”. He said environment and tourism officials are never available to assist his people, as well as other nearby villages when wild animals terrorise them.
“Up until now they did not even show up, despite several of our efforts to inform them,” he said. “Why do they protect animals more than humans?” asked the distressed headman.
“If one kills an animal through an act of self defence that person will be jailed. Now who is going to vote? Is it the animals that the government is protecting or the people that they are neglecting?” asked headman Shampapi.
“We want the ministry responsible to look into this. We need to be protected. They must drive their elephants and others to the parks. Nobody deserves to die like this. We are no longer safe,” he opined.
The headman said his community wants the ministry of environment and tourism to track and destroy the rogue elephant before it kills again.