The hunt follows the latest incident in which the fifth victim, Isack Ndoti (60), resident of Kinambo village in the district, was bitten by the snake at the weekend and died.
Milepa Ward Councillor Apolinari Macheta told this paper here yesterday that the killer snake has been biting its victims every year on Sundays and disappearing into a thick mango tree.
The puzzling circumstances under which the reptile has been biting and killing its victims informed the decision by authorities to request the expertise of one Seif Sikanda, a revered traditional healer, just in case traditional skills may apply.
“The hunt is ongoing; we have killed one seven-foot black mamba today (yesterday) but this is not our target as it is smaller compared to the killer one,” Macheta said.
The civic leader recounted that the first incident occurred on a Sunday in 2016 when the reptile bit two people in the village who both died, and has since been killing one person every year.
After the latest death, the village leadership wrote to the Sumbawanga District Executive Director (DED) and raised the issue, leading to the deployment of wildlife officials who embarked on the hunt yesterday alongside the local consultant, narrated Macheta.
Kinambo Village Executive Officer (VEO) Richard Sungura named other victims of the snake since 2016 as Elezina Kasele (68), Saise Shigela (21), John Mboganzuri (63) and Benedicto Kasele (14).
Sungura noted that the damage inflicted by the snake did not end at killing human beings; it has also killed a sizeable number of livestock and dogs.
Rukwa Regional Police Commander George Kyando admitted knowledge of the incident but said he had not yet received a formal briefing with details.