SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Tanzanian game rangers saved 50 pastoralists from death
after they spent seven days without food and water in
the thick forests of the Selous Game Reserve, Africa’s
largest faunal reserve, where they lost with their
livestock, officials said on Thursday.
Loibooki, Acting Director General for Tanzania Wildlife
Authority (TAWA), said the group consisting of children
aged 7 to 15, with 1,780 cows and over 200 goats and
sheep started their journey last week in Rufiji
District, Coast Region, en-route to Malinyi district in
search of grazing pastures.
"A phone call that one of them made to a colleague
who is in Kigoma saved their lives after information
about their missing spread faster and reached security
officials who started searching for them for days," said
He said the pastoralists were rescued on Wednesday by
game rangers at Kingupira which is one among the eight
zones in the Game reserve after three days of
unsuccessful search using helicopters and vehicles which
were deployed by the government.
After being rescued, they narrated the ordeal and
pains they had undergone in the thick forests without
water and food for a week only to be rescued by a phone
call that they made to a colleague who is in Kigoma.
"As days went by, my colleagues started collapsing
one by one because of hunger and lack of water, it
reached a point where we started drinking our own urine
and killed some of our animals and drunk blood and
sucked their wastes to save our lives," said Lisesi
Cherahani Bela, one of the pastoralists.
He said they had planned to travel for two weeks or
so from Rufiji to Malinyi but there came a man by the
name Nzigua who told them that he knew the shortest way
where they could have travelled for five days on
condition that they had to give some money.
The man took them from Rufiji last week Wednesday and
directed them for about 4 days and dumped them in the
midst of the Selous Game Reserve and disappeared.
According to Cherahani, the pastoralists had given
the man Tshs six million (about 3,000 U.S. dollars) in
advance on condition that he was to be paid more on
arrival in Morogoro.
"We never knew before that we were in a protected
area, but after walking for some kilometers we realized
that we are in a long place, our main issue now was
water, but the problem is that we never knew where we
are or where we are heading to," he said.
Gaudence Milanzi, the Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, visited the
site on Wednesday where the pastoralists were and
ordered that they be taken to a safe place.
Selous Game Reserve officers are now looking for the