Minister Usi visits crocodile attack victim in Salima, pledges government intervention

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi has instructed the department of Wildlife under his Ministry to track and destroy the crocodiles that are terrorizing and attacking people in Chipoka, Salima.
He gave the instruction on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at Salima District Hospital after visiting Patuma Mussa, a woman who was attacked by a crocodile on Tuesday, February 1, as she was washing clothes on the shores of Lake Malawi in the area.
The minister said he rushed to the area when he heard that a woman had been attacked by a crocodile on Tuesday afternoon, and that there have been several crocodile attacks in the area in the recent past.
“I have come here to see the victim of this attack, but I also went to the scene of the attack because I wanted to understand the cause and, if possible, come up with solutions in consultation with the community,” said Usi.
The minister added that his ministry is on a serious and wide-ranging quest to promote domestic and international tourism in the country, and one of the things it is doing is to promote Lake Malawi as calm, peaceful with sparkling and serene waters where people can go with their families to enjoy.
He said the crocodile attacks are therefore defeating that very objective because people cannot come to the waters where people are being attacked by beasts.
“You have seen me talking to chiefs in the area, and also speaking to some of the victims of these attacks. The reason is I want to understand the nature of this human and animal conflict so that we can curate a common solution to arrest this sad turn of affairs.
“As an immediate solution after assessing the situation, I am instructing the Department of Wildlife under my ministry to send hunters to this area so that they must track and destroy these animals before they attack again. This will be an interim solution whilst we are looking for a more permanent one,” said Usi.
In his explanation, husband to the victim, M’bwana James, said he was looking after his goats several meters from the lake while his wife, Patuma, was washing clothes in the waters nearby when he heard strange splashing and cries of his wife. That is when he realized his wife had been grabbed by a crocodile, and he rushed to rescue her whilst also shouting for help.
“I took a ‘bango’ stick and grabbed my wife while whipping the animal with the stick. There was a tug of war between me and the animal with me pulling her to the shore while the animal was pulling her into the water. Other people came and we managed to pull her out of the jaws of the animal,” said James, adding that this was not the first crocodile attack on members of his family at almost the same spot.
When asked why they keep coming to the same spot he said the lake is their livelihood because it is where his family draws water for their daily use and there is no other place where they can go.
Group Village Headman Mlenga from the area, also echoed these sentiments, saying his area does not have alternative sources of water such as boreholes.
“We want to plead with the government to consider bringing boreholes here as the lack of boreholes in this area is forcing people to keep going to the part of the lake where they are being attacked by these crocodiles. We therefore consider the Minister’s visit as an opportunity to make our request for boreholes to the government through him,” said Group Village Headman Mlenga.

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