By Johnbosco Tugume
A 64-year-old man is nursing wounds on his hand after he was attacked and severely bitten by a chimpanzee in Kihomboza III village, Bujumbura division, Hoima municipality.
Sylvester Isagara whose right hand is still swollen after the attack says he was attacked by the ape last week.
Isagara explains that while he was attending to his tobacco garden, he heard children screaming for help, when he intervened, he was bitten by the chimpanzee several times before it fled.
He said although he managed to rescue the children and saved his life, he has not resumed work since then due to severe pain.
There are more than five wounds on his hand and most affected are three of his fingers.
Residents in the village have expressed worry over the worsening relationship between chimpanzees and human beings.
Godfrey Winyi, a resident said the apes are destroying their crops especially papaws, sugarcane, jackfruits among others.
“Our lives are at stake here because of those monsters. We are likely to face famine in the near future and we demand for the transfer of the apes from here,” Winyi said.
Edward Ruhigwa, the Bujumbura division chairman regretted the incident but warned residents against attacking the apes when they see them.
Julius Allan Hakiiza, the Albertine region police publicist said he had not received such a report yet but promised to investigate the issue.
Kihomboza village neighbors with Wampanaga forest reserve where chimpanzees are found.
Moses Semahunge, the project manager for Bulindi chimpanzee and community project said they brought the issue to the attention of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and they are waiting for a response.
Semahunge however said due to increased forest destruction, chimpanzees and human beings are competing for space, food and shelter.
He said they have registered several cases of crop destruction and human attacks by chimpanzees.
Two weeks ago, a chimpanzee was killed by a farmer in Bulindi, a neighboring area for destroying his gardens.
Efforts to get a comment form UWA officials by press time were futile.