A four-month-old toddler and her 28-year-old mother, Kanyemba Penighambeko Ndapenikwa, were killed by a crocodile at Shighuru village in Mashare Constituency, Kavango East.
Police and wildlife officials have only recovered the body of the mother while the remains of the toddler are yet to be found.
According to the police the deadly incident happened on Sunday afternoon at 15:30. It is alleged that the deceased woman was carrying the baby on her back and washing her clothes in floodplains at the banks of the Kavango River.
The crocodile snatched the mother with her baby and dragged her down to deeper water. Villagers recovered the clothes and basins that the deceased had used at the scene of the attack.
“After searching the river and floodplains we got the mother’s body on Sunday afternoon. Our officers together with the officials [from the Ministry of Enviropment and Tourism] are still searching for the baby and maybe the crocodile that attacked them can also be caught,” said Detective Chief Inspector Ewald Kavara of the Kavango East police.
“There was a crocodile present when the body of the woman was discovered and our officials shot it, but it disappeared in the water, it went under water, not sure if it died or not, our staff are still searching for that crocodile and the toddler. The body of the woman was intact but the baby is still missing, the search continues,” said the environment ministry spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda.
Muyunda urged the public to be cautious when at the river. He said people are at risk the moment they are in the water as crocodiles are ever lurking, especially now that the floodplains are flooded.
“This dangerous predator moves with the water especially now that the riverbanks are flooded. We really want to caution people that use the water as a source of fish, water and for washing laundry to do so in a way that they will not put themselves at risk, and also when washing they must be some distance away from the water. We understand the woman was washing not in the main river but the stream that is flooded by river water,” Muyunda noted.