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Invading stray hippos 'terrorize' villagers in western Tanzania

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Villagers in Tanzania’s western district of Nkasi have been living in fear following the invasion of hippopotamuses strayed from the shores of Lake Tanganyika, authorities said Friday.

Kanchui is one of the affected villages with hippos in the district located few kilometers from Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second deepest lake after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Richard Salezi, a resident of Kanchui village said that hippos have been roaming around the village for the past three weeks now.

He said: “People have been living in fears due to the increasing number of hippos that have been damaging our rice farms.”

“As villagers, we want the animals confined within their habitat so as to give us room to continue with our farming activities uninterrupted.”

“We are forced to go inside our houses as early as 5 p.m. for fear of our lives. Hippos have been storming into our homes every evening, putting our lives in danger,” he stressed.

Salezi said the challenge for the villagers is that they are not allowed to kill these animals as the law is on hippos’ side. “We’re appealing to the responsible authorities to protect us from hippos that have so far destroyed our properties.”

A local leader in the area, Asante Lubisha said that the hippos stray from the shores of Lake Tanganyika and causing destruction.

“I have informed district authorities on the new challenge, but there is no quick response,” said Lubisha, who is also the Kabwe Ward Councilor.

Said Mtanda, Nkasi District Commissioner also confirmed on the hippos invasion, saying his office has already dispatched a team of wildlife experts to addressing the challenge, by ensuring that the animals are chased into their sanctuaries, without causing harm to villagers.

He urged villagers to be careful with hippos, pledging that the government will end the problem very soon.

Nkasi is one of western Tanzania’s districts located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika which is shared by Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl.



Lightning strike kills five in southern Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM (Xinhua) -- A lightning strike on Friday killed five people, including two pupils, in Tanzanian southern region of Lindi, local official said.

The lightning strike followed heavy rains that were accompanied by strong winds, said Shaibu Ndemanga, the Lindi District Commissioner.

Ndemanga added that three people were admitted to hospital following injuries they sustained after a roof of their house collapsed due to the strong winds.

Ndemanga said at least 53 houses were destroyed by the rains leaving at least 250 families homeless.

Juma Mohamed, chairman of Muungano Primary School Committee, said the rains destroyed five classrooms of the school leaving at least 500 pupils stranded with no classrooms.

He said following the incident, the school was forced to close down to pave way for rehabilitation of the classrooms.

“We don’t know how long the exercise will take, but we hope to do the repairs as quickly as possible,” said Mohamed.



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