RUNDU - Seven villagers fell victim to a hippo attack as they were crossing the Kavango River on a boat from Namibia to Angola on Thursday evening at Kahenge village.
All the victims were Namibians who were on their way to their mahangu fields on the Angolan side where many Namibians have crop fields and cattle posts.
It was reported that the boat that was boarded by the seven occupants was being paddled or operated manually across the river as it had no engine, and the hippo attacked and destroyed the boat forcing them to jump into the river as the boat capsized.
Two of the seven occupants drowned, said the Kavango West crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Mbumba, who confirmed the incident to New Era.
The two deceased are 74-year-old granny Anastasia Maliro and Kanoto Tembe of unknown age, and their remains were only recovered on Friday after a police search.
“One was recovered on Friday morning while the other was only recovered in the late afternoon. The next of kin of both deceased persons were informed,” he said.
The hippopotamus is considered the world’s deadliest large land mammal. According to research these semi-aquatic giants kill an estimated 500 people per year in Africa.
Hippos are also highly aggressive and are well-equipped to deliver considerable damage to anything that wanders into their territory as they are largely territorial.
Far from the lumbering giants they seem to be, hippos can trot, jog and run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, with spurts as fast as 30 miles per hour. So small boats can be capsized by hippos and passengers can be injured or killed in these attacks.