Jumbos wreak havoc in Oshikoto

A herd of six rogue elephants are said to be terrorizing residents and farmers in the Elavi area, which are believed to have come from the farming areas of the Kavango–West region.

According to farmer Nelson Malakia, the elephants entered the village Sunday night and stayed in a nearby forest. They feed in the farmers’ fields at night and rest in the forest during the day.

“We have no longer any herd of elephants in this area thus these elephants should have come from the Kavango – west region. Some areas that side did not receive good rains and that could be why they moved this side,” he pointed out.

Malakia indicated that because most parts of the Kavango West region bordering Oshikoto are made up of communal livestock farms without crops, this enabled the beasts to travel without detection in the bush until they reach the communal cropland of Elavi, which is also located in dense bushes and forests. Elavi is found in the remote Nehale lya Mpingana constituency between Okankolo, Eengodi, Epembe and Guinas constituencies.

“They destroyed the crops and damaged a privately owned borehole and its pump. This a big source of water to us and it will be difficult to replace it. You know community members here already do not have money and replacing that will just add to their woes,” he stressed.

Malakia said he was at his other farm in the Kunene region when the animals invaded that area. He stressed he tried communicating with the regional councillor for Nehale lya Mpingana to inform the environment ministry but failed to do so.

“His phone (council) has been off and its unclear whether he is around or not,” he stated.

Another farmer in the area, Johannes Ngeno, also confirmed the presence of the herd to Confidente on Wednesday since Sunday but told this publication on Sunday he was unsure if they were still in the area.

“MY herders called and told me there were elephants in the village, and that they destroyed part of my fence to access a well. I think they smelled. They however could drink from the well due its depth and only threw in tree branches and sand. Since then, I have not received any report.”

Confidente could not obtain comment or reaction from Nehale lya Mpingana councillor Joseph Shilongo when he went to print as his phone remained off.

Because some residents informed this publication that the probable direction the elephants would be the west, meaning they might have started encroaching the neighbouring Eengodi constituency, Confidente asked Protasius Neshuku, the councillor of the constituency, if he had received any reports of the sightings of the elephants in the constituency. He said: “Honestly, I only received unofficial rumours that they (elephants) were in Nehale lya Mpingana. If they have crossed over here, I do not know as nothing has been reported to my office yet,” he pointed out.

Attempts to solicit from Romeo Muyunda, the environment, forestry and tourism spin doctor, hit a brick wall as his phone went unanswered by the deadline. However, in the past, Muyunda had indicated that the government compensated farmers who lost livestock or crops to wild animals.