A herd of wild elephants trampled at least three people today during a daylong face-off with villagers in Keochia union of Satkania upazila in Chittagong. The dead were identified as Mahbubul Alam Talukder, 45, son of Abul Hossain Talukder, Md Shakil, 13, son of Md Forkan, and Md Shahadat, 30, son of Amir Hosain. Khaled Hossain, officer-in-charge of Satkania Police Station, endorsed the deaths and said the locals were enraging the elephants – trying to take their photos and chasing them. “Locals are taking photos, approaching close to the animals and enraging them. We tried to move them several times, but they continue to approach the herd and irritate them.” A herd of about 14 wild elephants came down the hills southeast of the village this morning, our Chittagong correspondent reports quoting police and locals. The first victim, Mahbub, died around 11:00am when the villagers were taking photos with their mobile phones and hurling brick chips at the herd. The villagers tried to chase away the elephants with burning sticks around 12:00pm. Shariful Islam, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Satkania, after the first death, instructed law enforcers to abstain the villagers from engaging with the elephants. Later, the two others were trampled when the wild herd charged at locals surrounding them in Temuhuni Bill area. Shakil died around 3:00pm and Shahadat around 6:00pm. “Shakil and Shahadat died while trying to take photos in close range,” Satkania OC Khaled hossain said. “We are repeatedly asking the curious villagers to stay away.” The herd was still roaming in the area until last reported around 7:00pm. The police OC hoped that the animals would return to the hills at night when the villagers would go away.
AGENCY, THE DAILY STAR