By Francis Emorut
The government, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), family and friends have mourned the death of three people recently killed by stray elephants in Oyam district.
Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba said it is a “real tragedy”.
The three men were killed by five elephants from Murchison Falls National Park which had turned aggressive on Wednesday.
At the time of the deadly attack, Edward Menya, Ronald Okori and Vincent Obua were attending to their gardens in Oloro sub-county in northern Uganda.
Game rangers tried to scare away the violent animals by firing gunshots in the air but that did not help much.
The killer animals were only able to give up their advance when the army intervened with reinforcement that drove the elephants back into the park using a helicopter.
At the burial of the three men in Teboke village in Oyam district, minister Mutagamba said: “We are so deeply saddened by the incident. We express our sincere condolences to the widows and the relatives [of the deceased].”
(PHOTOGRAPHER: Francis Emorut)
Widow Lilly Menya was given sh400,000 as contribution towards burial expenses of her husband Edward Menya
Scores of mourners turned up to pay their last respects to the three men
Many traveled miles, some on foot and others on bicycles and motorcycles, to attend the burial ceremony
The burial ceremony took place in Teboke village in Oyam district
The tourism minister said the government, together with UWA, will do their best to prevent the reoccurrence of any incident of such kind.
Huge crowds of people traveled miles – mostly on foot, bicycles and motorcycles – to pay respects to the three men at the burial ceremony.
On their part, UWA offered sh1.6m towards burial expenses and also partly towards 17-year-old Nickson Ongom who was injured in the attack.
“We want to extend our sympathy to the families who lost their dear ones and would like to ensure that they receive a dignified burial,” said Raymond Engena, the acting executive director of UWA.
Oyam South MP Betty Amongi said residents of Loro sub-county were terrified by the fatal incident, and are now living in fear.
She called on the district leaders and the wildlife body to sensitize the communities on how to respond when potentially dangerous wildlife like elephants are sited in the area.
According to Evelyn Kyomukama, the conservationist of UWA based at Karuma, MP Amongi has been on the ground since the elephant attack and said the legislator had been of great help to them.
Candles were lit and flowers placed on the grave of the late Edward Menya
17-year-old Nickson Ongom was injured during the Wednesday elephant attack
The mother of Ronald Okori, Keren Okwany, received sh400,000 as contribution towards burial expenses for her son