Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Kidnapped Girl 'Rescued' by Lions

Enlarge Pic ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP)

A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.

The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,'' Wondimu said. "If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage,'' he said. "Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people."

The girl, the youngest of four siblings, was "shocked and terrified'' after her abduction and had to be treated for the cuts from her beatings, Wondimu said. He said police had caught four of the abductors and three were still at large. The United Nations estimates that more than 70 percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction.

Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the rural development ministry, said the girl may have survived because she was crying from the trauma of her attack.

"A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why they didn't eat her,'' Williams said.

Ethiopia's lions, famous for their large black manes, are the country's national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency. Despite a recent crackdown, Hunters also kill the animals for their skins, which can fetch $1,000. Williams estimates that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions remain in the wild.

See Also: The Lion of Zion


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like lions have moved above Homo Sapiens in terms of compassion and humanity.

If super-advanced aliens ever come to earth, they will probably bypass our own violent species and go straight to the Lions for some intelligent conversation and TLC!
(I can only imagine what the lions will tell them--Perhaps something like, "And stay away from those humans! If they see you, you'll probably get shot!"

3:14 am  

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