|www.corpun.com : Archive : 2001 : SZ Judicial Jun 2001|
Corpun file 7830 at www.corpun.com
The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 June 2001
Swazi police catch up with 'talking baboons'
By Bhekie Matsebula
Galile, Swaziland -- The reign of terror of the "talking baboons" of Galile has ended.
For almost a year the southern Swaziland community has been living in fear of alleged "talking baboons".
The rampaging "baboons", who sometimes spoke "fluent English" according to victims, have been smashing windows and doors of houses and huts since July last year, forcing families to flee.
Concentrating on the most vulnerable
The baboons even attempted to rape women on several occasions, apparently concentrating on the most vulnerable, those whose husbands were away working on South African mines.
Their reign of terror ended this week when police arrested three young men wearing baboon skins in a home in the area, after setting up an ambush there.
A police spokesperson said: "We arrested three young men following complaints from residents that they were being harassed by baboons. Police are still investigating the matter."
He could not give the ages of the arrested suspects, who could face charges of malicious damage to property.
The baboons used names like "Bottle Juice" and "Jantoni", when they invaded homes at night, demanding sex from women and causing mayhem.
Police had once before set up an ambush in the area, but on that day the baboons did not show up. The saga even reached parliament, where a senator urged police to shoot the baboons on sight. - The Star Foreign Service
Corpun file 7831 at www.corpun.com
Independent On Line, South Africa, 28 June 2001
Swazi boys found guilty of 'baboon rampage'
Mbabane -- Three boys from southern Swaziland were found guilty by a traditional Swazi court on Wednesday of carrying out a rampage of attacking single women while disguised as primates.
The boys, wearing baboon suits, had demanded food and sex from single and widowed women, after invading their homes in the Ezikhotheni area at night.
A number of women have deserted their homes since the three "English-speaking baboons", aged 16, 15 and 12, began their rampage at the beginning of the year.
Police arrested them on June 20 and they appeared before the Hluthi national court on Wednesday. The boys, facing nine counts of malicious damage to property, pleaded not guilty.
Court president Mahlabayidlele Dlamini found them guilty on two counts and the court will continue with the other seven counts in a hearing next Wednesday.
The older juveniles were sentenced to 10 months in jail or a fine of 100 lilangeni (about R96) for each count and the 12-year-old to five strokes.
The "baboons'" reign had so alarmed some of the kingdom's parliamentarians that they had called for them to be eliminated.
Leading prophet Smanga Mthalane even offered to go to Ezikhotheni to exorcise the demons he believed possessed the primates. -- Sapa-AFP
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