Personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces posted at the LaminKoto military camp and Gambia Navy outpost in Central River Region (CRR) were this Saturday morning 2 January 2021 called in to chase away three ‘wild’ hippopotamus at the Janjanbureh- LaminKoto Ferry crossing point. According to reports, the hippos were attacking each other somewhere along the River and came up to the general area of the crossing point this morning thus interrupting transport services and business activities across the river banks.
The Command of the Armed Forces, upon receiving this information from the Director of Parks and Wild Lives acted swiftly by instructing Commanding Officer (CO) of 2 Infantry Battalion in Farafenni (responsible for the area), Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Bojang to deploy his personnel in the area to control the scary situation. The CO then instructed the Officer Commanding, LaminKoto military post, Captain Malick Boye to work with the relevant regional authorities for Parks and Wild Live to ensure that the hippos are controlled and do not cause any harm to people and their properties.
Captain Boye and his personnel together with personnel of the Gambia Navy posted at the Ferry crossing point cordoned the area off by ensuring that the place was cleared of passengers and all unauthorized persons, goods as well as vehicles. They also ensured that all traffic along both river banks (ferry and boats) was suspended as well as stopped fishermen from using their canoes and boats for fishing until the operation was successfully completed.
Owing to environmental and conservation issues, the Officer Commanding the military post instructed his men not to shoot or try to kill the hippos. However, they used their ingenuity by adopting other methods, such as starting the engines of both the Navy boats on site and the ferry. The sounds of these engines were able to scare off the intruding animals as all the hippos immediately left the area. Killing the hippos was an option of last resort!
Presently, the situation is under total control as the soldiers were able to scare off the hippos without firing a shot. The ferries services are also back to normal as well as the usual business activities along both sides of the river bank.