KATILI villagers in Simanzi Ward along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kalambo District, Rukwa Region, have been warned against allowing schoolchildren to cross River Liwazi by swimming while going to go school or returning home due to an increase in the number of crocodiles in the river.
Acting Kalambo District Executive Director (DED) Said Athanas told reporters that an 11-year-old girl, who was in Standard One, Theresia George, was attacked and killed by a crocodile early this week, while crossing River Liwazi on her way back home from school. He urged village leaders to have two reliable canoes, which would be used to ferry pupils and adults across the river.
Reports from the scene of the incident show that on the material day the schoolgirl was compelled to swim across the river on her way back home from school after the canoe used to ferry schoolchildren and adults had broken down. "I have received with great shock the sad news of the death of the pupil...Schoolchildren risk their lives by crossing River Liwazi, while going to and from school.
The village leaders should do something by having two steadfast canoes, when the government is working on how to address the situation permanently," explained the acting DED. Following the incident, villagers have been told to take precautions by not allowing their schoolchildren to and from school to swim, while crossing River Liwazi, which has crocodiles.
According to Simazi Ward Executive Officer (WEO) Pius Kasonso the body of the schoolgirl has not yet been found. Narrating the shocking incident, Mr Kasonso said on the material day, Theresia at first managed to swim safely, while holding her school uniforms in one hand. "She left her fellow pupils on the other side of the river, who asked her to cross the river and help them take their school uniform.
The girl did it and during her third attempt to cross the river, while swimming with her fellow pupils, suddenly she was attacked by the crocodile and disappeared. But the other children swam safely to the other side of the river," added WEO.