By Hileni Nembwaya
A 50-year-old man from Ondeikela village in Ohangwena region is lucky to be alive after he survived an attack by an enraged elephant he and his colleagues were trying to tranquilise at Otjamutjamu village in Oshikoto region last week.
Ambrosius Haingwendja, who works in the Department of Nature Conservation in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, was trampled by the huge animal on 20 May while on duty and sustained severe chest injuries.
He was rushed to Onandjokwe Lutheran hospital and was later transferred to Oshakati Intermediate Hospital where he is still receiving treatment.
The ministry's public relations officer, Romeo Muyunda, confirmed the attack.
Haingwendja was part of a team of eight, assigned to tranquilise the animal that was wreaking havoc in the village, destroying omahangu fields and making them live in fear.
The elephant turned on the men and targeted Haingwendja. It was later killed by game rangers.
Although there was no official confirmation on where the elephant could have come from, Haingwendja believes that it could have strayed from the Etosha National Park, which is close to the village.
Although Haingwendja said his condition was stable, he suffered fractured ribs and sustained a big wound in the chest.
"I am in so much pain. I can hardly move my body. That elephant almost killed me. I am lucky to have survived the attack," he said.
Haingwendja also said he was not entitled to a danger allowance when he joined the team assigned to kill or tranquilise the elephant.
Muyunda, however, denied this, saying all workers in the ministry are on medical aid.