Poachers Vandalize Electric Fence At Murchison Falls National Park
Unknown people suspected to be poachers have vandalized a section of electric fence installed around Murchison Falls National Park in Got Apwoyo Sub-county, Nwoya District.
The installation of the electric fence covering a 20-kilometre stretch around the Park started in January 2020 to stop wild animals from straying into human settlements. The move followed complaints of crop destruction, severe injuries, and death of locals caused by stray animals mostly elephants straying from the National Park.
Nwoya District Chairperson Emmanuel Orach, says the suspects’ cut off about four meters of the electric fence wires already installed in Wii Anaka Village in Got Apwoyo Sub-county over unknown reasons. Orach says they are shocked that the project meant to help the locals who have for long suffered from elephant invasion is being threatened by vandals.
Orach notes that they have met with community members in the area and sensitized them against sabotaging the project adding that a task force has also been formed to monitor the ongoing works. “This kind of mindset must be changed, they shouldn’t fight government project, it’s a project meant for the people’s welfare, we should take care of it very jealously,”
Got Apwoyo sub-county Chairperson Ben Latim Openy says a preliminary investigation shows that the suspects behind the vandalism are poachers trying to gain access into the park to hunt for wild animals.
He says that whereas the majority of the farmers in the community are happy with the installation of the electric fence, people whose livelihood depends on poaching are unhappy and trying to fight the project.
“People have been crying about the elephants’ invasion in community and are hopeful about the electric fences being installed, but the poachers are not happy because they don’t farm,” Openy says. According to him, one suspect who has so far been arrested in connection with the vandalism is being detained by the Police for further interrogation.
Purong Sub-County Chairperson John Ben Okot says that ever since the installation of the electric fence in their area by Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA, no elephant has crossed into community settlements. Okot says stray elephants in the past caused serious destructions on crops in areas of Tee-Acam and Yago Pino.
“Our community members are happy and hopeful of farming without any fear of their crops being destroyed by the elephants,” says Okot.
Efforts to get comments from UWA Communications Manager Bashir Hangi were futile by press time on Friday evening.