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August 22, 2018

Politician comes face to face with elephants, convoy blocked for two hours

"KWS officials said the area is a migratory route for elephants and that the region is prone to human-wildlife conflict due to its proximity to Tsavo East National Park." /FILE
"KWS officials said the area is a migratory route for elephants and that the region is prone to human-wildlife conflict due to its proximity to Tsavo East National Park." /FILE

The convoy of a Ganze MP candidate was on Thursday evening delayed for two hours after a herd elephants blocked the road.

Edward Kingi was heading to Bamba town from Midiona for another campaign meeting when the incident happened.

He told the Star on phone on Friday that the experience was terrifying.

"In between Rima Ra Pera and Midiona, 20 kilometres from Bamba town, we encountered four elephants and their two calves...one hundred metres in front of us, blocking the road.

"We could not move and were terrified because we have never come face to face with the jumbos."

Some scared supporters tried to scamper for safety but were advised against it by a resident.

"One of the villagers told us to remain calm and wait for darkness, then flash our headlights for the animals would move," Kingi said.

He said they remained on the road for two hours and when darkness set, they switched on their lights and the elephants slowly got off the road.

KWS officials said the area is a migratory route for elephants and that the region is prone to human-wildlife conflict due to its proximity to Tsavo East National Park.

Read: Elephant population in Tsavo up by 14.7% over three years

Robert Chengo, a supporter, said such incidents are a security threat to residents.

"Several cases have been reported but there is a laxity on the part of government agencies," he said.

"Very little is done by KWS. They are concentrating on non-priority issues while leaving out prominent issues affecting the people. We want KWS to make sure human-wildlife conflict is addressed," said Bamba MCA Daniel Mangi.

Ganze deputy county commissioner Mohamed Mwabuzo said they had registered the politicians' complaints.

"I understand the fear that is in the region stretching from Karimani, Goshi, Midoina and other areas bordering the Tsavo East park. Two weeks ago, I sent KWS officers who chased the jumbos back into the park.

"They have returned for the third time but we are making efforts to find a long-lasting solution."

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