“These children decided to look for wild cassava in people's plantations in order to survive."
Seven people have died after eating poisonous cassava in Bugiri district since the beginning of this year, a police report says.
Most of those who died were children, the report says.
According to the report dated July 11, ten other people were admitted in different hospitals in critical condition after ingesting poisonous cassava.
Bugiri district police commander Edrisa Kyeyune said the eventual victims people were desperate the immature cassava due to the biting famine especially in rural areas of the eastern Uganda district.
The worst-hit sub-counties are Kapyang, Buluguyi, Nabukalu and Buwunga.
Among those who died included five-year-old twins Musa Opio and Sarah Macho from Namukonge village in Kapyang sub-county.
David Muwanguzi of Nawanjuki village, and Julius Ogema, Joseph Bwire, Michael Kasada all from Butema village in Buluguyi sub-county are also named in the report as among the dead.
Christiano Wafula, 70, from Katale village in Nabukalu subcounty also died from eating poisonous cassava.
On his part, Kyeyune cautioned locals against eating cassava that has not yet matured to avoid similar cases.
Margret Mwanamoiza, the resident district commissioner of Bugiri, said most people abandoned their homes during the famine, leaving their equally-desperate children on their own.
“These children decided to look for wild cassava in people's plantations in order to survive but instead ended up losing their lives, she said.
She also warned residents against selling off their food stuffs to avoid being affected in hard times.
Meanwhile, the district agricultural officer Peter Dhamuzungu denied allegations that the cassava species that was causing death was given out to farmers under the Operation Wealth Creation program.
He said the cassava species that was given out to farmers under this initiative was first tested and proved not to be harmful to human life.