Ethiopian girl miraculously saved by Lions

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Police in Addis Ababa tell that three lions helped rescue a 12 year old kidnapped girl to be force into marriage. The men who kidnapped her were chased off by the lion, which then guarded her till the time her relatives as well as police tracked her in remotest part of Ethiopia.

The girl was held by men for seven days- beaten frequently, before being saved by the lions for half day before the police could found her, sergeant Mr. Wondimu Wedajo told via telephone on Tuesday from provincial capital Bita Genet- located 550km west of the Ethiopian capital.

Wondimu added that “the lions stood guard till the time we found her after which they simply left as a gift to go back into forest. We don’t know whether they were male or female lions.”

The news of her rescue on June 9 came slowly from southwestern Ethiopia’s Kefa Zone.

Destiny could have been a lot worse for her “had the lions not come for her rescue in time. These young girls are frequently raped and beaten badly to be forced into accepting marriage proposals,” Wondimu said.

“Everyone is taking it as a miracle since usually lions attack people,” he added.

A wildlife expert named Stuart Williams, who also works with rural development ministry told that it was also possible that she was saved as she was crying due to traumatic attack on her.

“A crying young girl could also be mistaken for a lion cub’s mewing noise, which might explain why lions didn’t choose to eat her, which they certainly would have done” said Williams.

The girl is youngest of 4 sisters and brothers and was “terrified” for which she had to be taken care of- to help her forget about the incidence, he said.

He also claimed that the police had got hold of four men and were looking for 3 more.

Kidnapping in Ethiopia has for long been a part of marriage tradition- full of violence and sorrow and with dark origins.

The United Nations guesses that almost 70% marriages in Ethiopia are done by kidnapping and is practiced mostly in the rural parts where most of country’s 70 million citizens live.

Lions are already dying breed

Ethiopia’s lions are famous for their big black manes and are country’s national symbol which is also placed on statues as well as local currency. Former ruler of the country- Haile Selassie- kept it as a pride in his Addis Ababa based royal palace.

Regardless of their essential place in Ethiopian culture, the numbers of such lions are falling- as many experts say- due to encroaching on bush land by the farmers.

The hunters also slaughter such animals for skins- fetching around $1 000- even after a latest crackdown against such unlawful animal trading in the country. Williams told that only 1 000 such Ethiopian lions are remaining in the wild.