Police hunted Monday for chimpanzees
that escaped from a Sierra Leone preserve and mauled a group of local and
American sightseers – a rare attack that left one local man dead and at least
four other people hospitalized.

The U.S. Embassy warned Americans against traveling to the Tacugama
Chimpanzee Sanctuary, from where the chimps escaped before the Sunday attack on
a taxicab filled with Americans and others.

The image “http://www.flyingchimp.com/images/chimps/serviceschimp.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The Sierra Leonean driver died as the chimps ripped his body apart and
the three Americans were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries, said a
top police official, Oliver Somasa.

Another Sierra Leonean man in the group had his hand amputated after the
primate mauling, Somasa said. U.S. officials had no further
comment. The Americans were in Sierra Leone to help construct a new
embassy building, Somasa said.

Armed police were searching Monday for 27 chimpanzees, Somasa said, while
four other chimps had already returned on their own accord to the

Somosa said it was unclear why the chimps attacked or how the chimps were
able to flee the park.

Chimpanzee attacks are unusual but not unprecedented.

Two chimps that escaped from their cages in a California sanctuary
severely mauled one man last year, injuring his genitals and limbs. A bystander
shot the primates before they could kill their victim.

By Clarence Roy-Macaulay