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Hippos that have killed 26 people in Wakiso strike again

Kavanyanja Island, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Two fishermen in  Bussi Subcounty in Wakiso District have died in a hippopotamus attack in Lake Victoria. They have been  identified  as Perimo Alaku from Terego district and Sobasi Tayali Alinga from Yumbe district.

Three residents including the area leader say the incident happened Saturday night in Kavanyanja island, Bussi Sub county, Busiro South county.

Swaibu Sseggane, LC 1 Chairman Kavanyanja says a hippo hit the boat in which the two fishermen were sailing. “The hippo attacked one of them as the other  struggled to turn the boat towards Lwazi landing site where they had departed from around 9:30pm, but the hippo overpowered both of them and they fell in water and and got killed.”

Sseggane says the two fishermen were new in the area. Residents are now searching for their bodies.  “They screamed for help when the hippo first attacked their boat but the local community feared that they would suffer a similar fate. The same hippo killed a young fisherman called Emmanuel Muyunga last week, So residents fear that part of the Lake now.”

Sseggane is however urging Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA to intervene, saying hippos have killed up to 28 people in Bussi Sub-county since 2018.

Kavanyanja, Kitufu and Zinga have been affected by hippo attacks since 2018. For instance,  12 locals were killed between April and June 2021 after hippopotami invaded communities in the  sub-county.  Charles Mukalazi, the LC 3 Chairman at the time said the hippos also destroyed several gardens.

Bashir Hangi, the Spokesperson of UWA, says it is unfortunate if two fishermen died after being attacked by a hippo on Saturday. “It is impossible for us to remove all hippos from the lake because it is their habitat and also impossible to stop people from fishing,” he said. “So the only solution is to continue carrying out sensitisation about the hot spots for hippos which are usually fish breeding zones and also send our problem animal experts to assess whether or not the hippo is a danger to the community.”

He adds, “We have been to Bussi sub-county several times and told the residents to stay away from the hippo hot spots. The unfortunate thing is that fishermen don’t learn. They want to fish in fish breeding zones to get a good catch but it is also where hippos usually stay. So residents should listen to the experts to avoid human-wildlife conflicts.”

Sseggane and Hangi note that UWA killed a hippo at Kavanyanja early this year after experts said it posed a danger to the community. Sseggane says the one that has killed three fishermen in one week is also dangerous because it is mature and very aggressive.

“But hippos keep migrating and you might think it is only one and yet there are many others under the water, so people should stay away from the hot spots,”  Hangi adds. “We shall send our problem animal experts to assess the situation in Kavanyanja.”



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