A group of Malawian immigrants to South Africa was attacked by a hippopotamus in Limpopo River as they tried to cross using an illegal entry point and a five year old girl has gone missing since the attack two weeks ago.
Zimbabwe’s state owned newspaper, The Herald, reported on Monday that some of the Malawians sustained minor injuries in the encounter.
The paper quotes Limpopo Police Spokesperson, Colonel Ronel Otto, saying that the girl and her mother were part of a group of 11 Malawians who wanted to enter South Africa illegally near Beitbridge border post on the night of 31 December.
“Along the way they were chased by a hippopotamus and some sustained minor injuries. They ran away in all directions and since then the five-year-old girl went missing.
“Despite extended searches nothing has been found yet. Members of the SAP [South African Police] Search and Rescue Unit as well as the Air Wing intensified search operations during the weekend,” Otto said.
The mother of the girl reportedly tried to look for her without success for a week until she resigned to fate and reported the matter to the police.
The paper reports that there are over 200 illegal entry points across the Limpopo River which illegal immigrants use to evade official entry points into South Africa.
The police spokesperson says some illegal immigrants using the unofficial routes are attacked by hippos and crocodiles while others drown or are waylaid by criminals who rob, rape or kill.