Little African girl saved from pursuers by lions-Disputed!

Young Girl Saved From Pursuers by Lions-Disputed!

Summary of eRumor:

An incredible story of a young girl in Africa who was running from a group of men who had beaten her and wanted to force her into marriage.
As she ran down a road, she encountered a pride of lions who reportedly protected her until she stopped crying then let police tend to her.

The Truth:

Reports from remote areas of the world are sometimes unreliable, but there are published stories about this one.
A BBC article from June 22, 2005 quotes police in West Ethiopia as saying that the story is true.
Sergeant Wondmu Wedaj from Bita Genet told the BBC that the lions stood guard until the police got there then “left her like a gift” and went back into the forest.
The article quotes lion experts as being skeptical about that, however, and suggest that the lion was actually preparing to eat the girl but scattered when the police showed up.
One animal expert also  told reporters that the lions may have spared the girl because her crying may have sounded like the mewing sound from a lion cub.
The story has been widely reported in Africa and described as a miracle.
It appears to depend on who is interpreting the lion’s actions as to as to how the event is described.

Updated 6/26/05