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Botswana jumbos terrorise villagers

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

Villagers in the Dombolefu area in Bulilima have appealed to the government to erect an electric fence on the Botswana border to deter elephants from the neighbouring country from crossing into their villages.

The villagers said the elephants had destroyed the border fence, which made it easy for their cattle to cross into Botswana.

Botswana has a policy to shoot stray cattle from Zimbabwe on sight to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

According to reports, in the past three years Botswana authorities shot at least 600 cattle from the Bulilima West constituency.

A community leader, Chief Hikwa, told a recent meeting organised by Lubahhe, a grouping of Kalanga elders in Bulilima, that the elephants were giving villagers
sleepless nights.

“We have a problem with elephants in my area. “They come in huge numbers from the Botswana side where they destroy the perimeter fence at the border,” he said.

“This has seen our cattle straying into Botswana where they are shot on sight.

“This has been a big problem for our people and we appeal to relevant authorities to help us.”

The traditional leader said an electric fence would help control the movement of elephants.

“An electric fence will help us a lot to ward off these elephants because they are not deterred by the current fence, which they destroyed,” she added. “The
government should help us before we lose all our livestock.”

Bulilima West legislator Dingimuzi Phuti promised the villagers that he would take up the matter with the relevant authorities.

“It is a serious issue, which needs urgent attention since villagers are losing their cattle every day because they are shot when they cross the border,” he
said.

The affected wards include Dupute, Sihoma, Nswazi and Makhulela

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