July 12, 2024
Kampala Daily

33-year-old man who escaped two hippo attacks mauled to death in third incident

Abdul Mbidde mournfully recounted the unfortunate fate of his son, Hassan Ssemugoma, who lost his life in a tragic encounter with a hippopotamus. At 33 years old, Ssemugoma was fatally attacked during his third encounter with the massive water-dwelling creatures while he was working on his farm.

Ssemugoma, a resident of Katonto Village in Dwaniro Sub-county, Rakai District, had previously survived two aggressive encounters with a hippo. However, the third encounter on a fateful Thursday proved deadly.

The local community links the frequency of hippo attacks to the rising water levels in Lakes Kijjanebarola and Kachera. This environmental shift has displaced some wildlife from Mburo National Park, leading to increased interactions between humans and wild animals, thereby posing a threat to local communities.

Paul Ssewalu, the LC 1 chairman, shared the distressing aftermath of the attack and the frantic attempts to get Ssemugoma to Rakai Hospital. A subsequent transfer to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital ended in sorrow when Ssemugoma was declared dead upon arrival.

Twaha Kasirye, the spokesperson for Greater Masaka Police, advised locals to exercise caution around wild animals. He expressed his condolences to Ssemugoma’s family and stressed the importance of collective action to prevent further incidents.

Efforts are being made to manage the escalating crisis, with police and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) working together to monitor and control stray wild animals. However, the problem persists, with neighboring communities also facing similar threats.

Reports of multiple hippo attacks have surfaced from the nearby Kasimbanyiriri Village, Lwanda Subcounty. These attacks have caused significant damage to farms and continue to pose a constant threat to residents.

Umar Sseninde, the LC1 chairman, highlighted the urgency of the situation, noting the presence of three aggressive hippos that pose a threat to the community at all times. Sseninde appealed for solutions, advocating for a measured approach rather than indiscriminate killing of the stray hippos.

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