By Andrew Irumba
Oyam: Officials of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) have come under the spotlight after compensating the family of a catechist who was mid this week killed by stray elephants from Murchison Falls National Park with a paltry Shs2M.
Boniface Omara, a catechist at Bombay Catholic Chapel, Kamdini Sub County in Oyam district, was attacked and killed instantly by the rampaging elephants on Wednesday. He was riding a bicycle going to his farm at Onea village, Juma Parish in Kamdini Sub County when he was attacked killed by one of the stray elephants.
Eyewitnesses who visited the scene revealed that Omara’s head was smashed, and his body totally dismembered by the elephant.
Wilfred Chemutai, the Karuma Sector UWA chief warden said the money is to facilitate the burial arrangements, pending other administrative decisions by higher authorities regarding compensation as the per law.
The law provides for compensation where a person is killed, suffers bodily injury or suffers damage to his or her crops or livestock by the wild animals. The listed wild animals in the Act include elephants, lions, leopards, crocodiles, buffaloes, hyenas, hippopotamus, gorillas and chimpanzees.
Chemutai said that Omara’s death is regrettable, noting that UWA is striving to avoid recurrence of the similar attacks on residents along park border.
Chemutai added that UWA shall soon embark on sensitizing neighbouring communities surrounding park area on animal behaviour to avoid being attacked.
However, this is the second time marauding Elephants are killing a person and injuring others in Oyam district.
In April, 33-year-old Dorcus Awino, an expectant mother and resident of Onea A village in Norah trading centre in Kamdini sub-county was killed by elephants but UWA did not extend any burial facilitation for the bereaved family.
During that same attack, Denis Oryang, a primary five pupil at Aber P.7 School in Aber Sub County escaped with severe injuries. Oryang was later rushed for treatment at Atapara Hospital and has since recovered.
However, in a bid to stop the recurrence of such tragedies, UWA officials revealed to SpyUganda that they plan to erect an electric fence in known hot spots which will protect communities around national parks and game reserves from stray animals.