Five of family trampled by wild elephants in Assam

Guwahati, April 24 (IANS) Five members of a family were trampled to death Friday by wild Asiatic elephants that went on a rampage in a village in India’s northeastern state of Assam, officials said.

A wildlife official said two elephants strayed into Bangsali village in Dhubri district, about 320 km west of Assam’s main city of Guwahati Thursday midnight.

“The elephants first tore apart a mud-and-thatch hut and killed a woman and her two little children,” Syed Isfaqur Rahman, a magistrate in the area, told IANS by telephone.

“Two more people injured in the attack in an adjacent house belonging to the same family also succumbed at a hospital Friday morning.”

The rampaging elephants also damaged nearby paddy fields in the area.

Experts said wild elephants have been moving out of the jungles in search of food because people have been encroaching on animal corridors.

According to a wildlife department report, elephants have killed 277 people in Assam in the past five years while 269 elephants have died during the same period, many of them victims of retaliation by angry people. Villagers often poison marauding elephants.

Assam has India’s largest population of elephants, estimated to be around 5,300 by a 2002 wildlife census.