Mozambique hunts lions to stem attacks
MAPUTO (AFP) Jul 07, 2004
Police in northern Mozambique have enlisted the help of local hunters to kill lions and other wild animals following a recent spate of attacks on locals, a spokesman said Wednesday.

At least one person is killed and several injured by lions and other wild animals in the remote areas of the northern Cabo Delgado province each month, provincial police chief Francisco Vontade told AFP.

"The populations of these areas have lived in an atmosphere of fear because of the high presence of wild animals out of control," he said.

"Teams of local hunters backed by the police and the provincial wildlife authorities are working to try to bring calm in the areas affected," Vontade said.

The districts of Quissanga, Palma and Macomia frequently report attacks by wild animals, especially lions, on local farmers who venture out to isolated areas to work the land, he said.

"Two weeks ago, we had a case of two women (in the Quissanga district) killed by elephants after they tried to prevent them from grazing in the fields," he said.

The police chief said he hoped the situation would improve with the planned development of a game park in northern Mozambique.

"In the meantime the animals must be hunted," he said, adding that a lion was killed in Quissanga last week.

The state daily paper Noticias reported this week that at least 10 people had been killed by lions in the district of Palma near the border with Tanzania since January this year.

But the police chief could not confirm that death toll, saying only that they had received reports of "one death per month".

"We have registered at least one death from lion, leopard and elephant attacks in certain districts of our province each month since the beginning of the year," Vontade said.