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Cheetah attacks Botswana President Ian Khama on face

April 29, 2013 at 11:12 AM

GABORONE, Botswana, April 29 (UPI) -- A cheetah attack nearly cost Botswana President Ian Khama his eye, members of his presidential office said.

Government spokesman Jeff Ramsey said Khama was attacked last week by a cheetah at the Botswana Defense Force barracks as the animal was being fed in its pen, the Sunday Standard reported Monday.

The cheetah jumped up at Khama, catching him and his bodyguard by surprise, and clawed the president on the face, the spokesman said

Ramsay described the incident as "a freak accident, but not an attack."

He said the cheetah attacked the president because it was excited.

Khama received a couple of stitches, the spokesman said.

"The bodyguard was present but like I already said, this was just a freak accident," Ramsay said in an email to the Sunday Standard, explaining that Khama occasionally checks on the animals.

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