A four month-old baby boy is admitted at Kitara Medical center in Masindi district after being attacked and critically injured by a Chimpanzee.
The child was attacked and critically injured on Wednesday afternoon in Marramu village in Budongo sub county.
It is reported that the Chimpanzee grabbed the child from his mother when the mother was going to fetch water by the river. The mother was reportedly carrying the child on her back when the chimpanzee grabbed and disappeared with the child in a nearby bush.
The child’s mother sounded an alarm that attracted area residents who came to their rescue.
The residents started pursuing the Chimpanzee and later found the child had been dumped by the chimpanzee in the nearby bush. The child was critically injured in his private parts and on the right thigh.
The child was first rushed to Kinyara health center III before he was referred to Kitara Medical center for specialized medical attention.
Leo Ijidra, the child’s father explains that they heard his wife screaming for help after being attacked by the chimpanzee and rushed to find out what was happening. He says, they found when the chimpanzee had already disappeared with the child in the bush and started pursuing it.
Agnes Ezaru, also a resident of the area in a telephone interview with Uganda Radio Network-URN accused the Uganda wildlife Authority- UWA for failing to control the movements of Chimpanzee from the Murchison Falls national park into the community.
Sylvia Kusiima, a nurse at Kitara medical center where the child is currently admitted says, though the injuries inflicted on the child are severe, he is responding well to treatment.
Julius Kyahurwa, the Budongo sub county LC3 Chairperson told URN in a telephone interview that this is not the first time Chimpanzees from Murchison falls Game park and Budongo forest reserve respectively are straying into villages in the sub county. He says, he has approached UWA officials several times to help drive the chimpanzees away from the community in vain.
He fears that the attacks could continue on the community if no appropriate measure is taken by UWA. He too blames UWA officials for always responding late when Chimpanzees stray into the community to cause havoc.
Fred Kiiza, the area Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA Chief warden says by press time he had not received the information but promised to follow it up adding that if it is true, UWA will foot the medical bills of the injured child.
This is not the first-time residents in Masindi and Buliisa districts settling adjacent to Murchison falls National Park and Budongo forest reserve respectively are protesting the invasion of stray wild animals into their communities.
In August 2022, residents of Buliisa settling near Murchison falls National Park petitioned the Uganda Wildlife Authority -UWA over rampant invasion of elephants and Buffaloes into the community causing massive destruction to their crops.
In their petition then dated August 17, 2022 addressed to UWA, the residents explained that they are being raided by wild animals like elephants and Buffaloes which destroy their crops and cause injuries to the community members.
The residents in the petition wanted UWA to compensate them for crops destroyed and injuries inflicted on some of the community members by the wild animals. The residents were from more than 20 villages neigbouring Murchison Falls National Park.
The most affected sub-counties then included Butiaba, Buliisa Ngwedu,Biiso and Buliisa town council, which all share a common border with the parks. The residents said in these areas, several hectares cassava, maize, beans, sweet potatoes, jack fruits, pawpaws and bananas have been destroyed by wild animals over the years, and residents say that apart from the destruction of crops and property, the animals are a threat to human life.
In their petition signed by more than 1,000 residents, the residents too demanded that UWA erects an electric fence around Murchison Falls National Park to prevent further invasion of the animals into the community.