Friday, April 28, 2006

Chimp dubbed "Osama" still on the run after killing taxi driver

Osama chimp"Osama bin Laden" is still on the run in the jungles of Sierra Leone - after escaping with 20 other chimpanzees from a wildlife sanctuary where they killed a local taxi driver on Sunday.

The chimp, named by wardens after the wanted al-Qaeda leader, was among a pack of apes which mobbed and mauled four men at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the forested hills outside the Sierra Leonean capital Freetown.

"We hope by the middle of the coming week we will get all of them back to the sanctuary," a Tacugama spokesperson said.

"We have sent warning letters to tribal headmen in villages close to the sanctuary not to allow their children to enter into the forest in search of bush fruits or firewood."

Another of the escaped apes was called Charles Taylor, after the Liberian warlord currently awaiting trial in a cell in a UN-backed special court in Freetown, the spokesperson said.

The sanctuary, billed as one of Sierra Leone's leading eco-tourism attractions, has remained closed since Sunday's attack in which three American visitors were also injured.

It was the first incident of its kind since the sanctuary was set up in 1995 to give shelter to orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees.

Tacugama is home to nearly 70 apes living in a semi-wild environment in which they have access to fenced enclosures of rainforest as well as large cages where they spend the night.

Story here.

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