UGANDA (eTN) – Tragedy occurred along the busy Kampala-Gulu highway in the wee hours of Wednesday morning as a speeding bus traveling to northern Uganda knocked an elephant dead that was crossing the road and rolled several times.
The police confirmed that three of the passengers including the bus driver died on the spot, while ten others who had sustained injuries were rushed to Kiryandongo hospital in critical condition.
The incident occurred close to Karuma Wildlife Reserve which forms part of the 5,000-square-km Murchison Falls Conservation Area.
“When we learned of the incident, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff and police rushed to the scene and recovered the tusks,” said UWA spokesperson Jossy Muhangi.
He said that the carcass would be left to decompose or buried in a nearby forest. Muhangi advised against giving the meat to communities as this would tempt them into poaching.
Undeterred villagers would have none of this, as they descended on the dead elephant to help themselves to free meat.
This highway also serves as the major artery to South Sudan and the Northern Democratic Republic of Congo out of the capital city of Kampala. With the 650-megawatt Karuma Dam under construction, similar incidents along the way can be expected as the Karuma catchment area is already transforming into a city with all its attendant issues. That is unless the authorities apply the necessary interventions like speed limits, 24-hour enforcement, adequate lighting, and signage.
In the meantime, this highway remains remote and out of the jurisdiction of protected areas where the speed limit is 40 km per hour.