According to the statement, “the elephants went to Gwartanbali Forest and villagers living around there got excited, came in large numbers and put the elephants in a circle, taking pictures and trying to touch them.
“Tragedy struck when the elephants got charged and scattered the crowd and the villagers ran for safety. But as a result, they pushed down a nine-year-old boy called Fa’izu Chiroma Musa who was trampled by one of the elephants and he died on the spot around 10a.m.
“The elephants went further in the forest and the onlookers followed them; unfortunately another 45-year-old man, Malam Haruna Abubakar, while trying to get a close picture of the elephants was hit by one of the elephants and he died on the spot around 4p.m.
“It took our rangers some hours to control the crowd who kept on following the elephants before they could chase back the elephants into the reserve.
“Normally the rangers are able to provide rapid intervention and chase the elephants back into the reserve when they go out but this case was difficult because the villagers were very excited and wanted to go close and touch the elephants. They said it is their first time of seeing and coming in contact with elephants.
“We visited both families of the deceased and they said that they were ignorant that elephants can be dangerous and admitted that it was their fault to get close to the animals.”