Kaleb Nghishidivali

An eleven-year-old girl, Mathilde Muhuli, was killed by a crocodile on the Kavango River in the area of Shikoro village, Ndiyona constituency of the Kavango East Region while fetching water from the river, on the 1st April 2023.

According to the Chief Public Relations officer Romeo Muyunda in the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the incident is unfortunate and concerning for the ministry especially that a young girl had to lose her life in such attack.

 “This is definitely not the intent for our conservation,” said Muyunda.

“We want to caution communities living along the rivers in the north and north eastern regions, and the general public, not to take risks against their lives. Furthermore, we would like to urge parents and community leaders living along the rivers in these regions to restrain children from swimming or bathing in the rivers.  We cannot afford to lose more people from these dangerous predators,” said Muyunda.

Muyunda said that the ministry understands that communities draw resources from rivers for their livelihoods, however the ministry encourages that people must do so safely by taking necessary precautions at all times.

“Children should not be allowed to collect water by themselves but rather be under the supervision of an elder person. We strongly discourage against conducting activities such as washing in or at close proximity with the river,” he added.

He further indicated that the staff members of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism are under instructions to give information and render services to communities along the rivers in order to enhance their safety.

Saying communities can report any disturbances or threats caused by crocodiles to Ministry officials nearest to them to prevent conflict incidences. The Ministry’s policies have provision for identification and destruction of crocodiles or other animals that threatens people’s livelihoods and properties.

“The Ministry is currently working on practical and innovative preventative measures such as the setting up of crocodile enclosures; water provision, as well as to maximize the benefits of conservation to ensure that the benefits outweigh the cost,” Muyanda revealed.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, expressed its sympathy and condolences to the family of Mathilde Muhuli.

“We extend our sympathy to all Namibians who lost their loved ones or incurred damages to their properties as a result of wild animals,” he sympathized.

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