A young girl who was kidnapped by a group of men trying to force her to marry was reportedly rescued by a group of fearsome predators.
The 12-year-old Ethiopian girl was abducted by seven men who wanted her force her to marry one of them. According to the UN, over 70% of the marriages in rural Ethiopia occur through kidnappings of young women.
The girl had been missing for a week when authorities and her relatives were astounded to find her being guarded by three lions who apparently chased off her captors.
The girl had been repeatedly beaten before she was found and the big cats had been watching over her for half a day until she was located by authorities.
“They stood guard until we found her, and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” one police investigator told the Associated Press back in 2005 when the remarkable event was reported.
“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.
Four of the seven men were arrested by police and the young girl was taken home to recover with her family.
The lions’ behavior seems miraculous, considering you would think they would attack the girl rather than save her, but wildlife expert Stuart Williams told the news agency that she may have survived because she was crying.
“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,” said Williams.
There are estimated to be fewer than a 1000 Ethiopian lions left in the wild, making her rescue all the more amazing.
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