The Times reports that tigers, lions and hyenas were used in the torture of political prisoners in today’s Ethiopia. One thinks of medieval times and barbaric torture methods but no, according to the current prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, torture by big cats occurred until recently.
Abiy told reporters that:
“It is hard to believe this took place in today’s Ethiopia but the animals were kept alongside prisoners and used to force confessions as a tool of intimidation….”
Allegedly suspects, who were political opponents of Abdi Mohamed Omar, president of the Somali region, were placed in caged rooms with lions and tigers to extract ‘confessions’. I guess they’d say anything to please their captors. Abdi has been arrested for abuses of human rights and inciting violence. Television showed him being marched out of his luxurious villa by police on Monday. He was sacked by the prime minister.
Ethiopia has a long history of using big cats to give an air of invincibility to rulers. Haile Selassie, the ‘divine emperor’ of Ethiopia kept two cheetahs as guards and as symbols of power. He also kept lions as the photos show. Until he lost power, the Lion of Judah was on the nation’s flag.
The current prime minister of Ethiopia is cracking down on corruption and the above mentioned medieval practices.
Tigers are not native to the African continent but are bred there and kept as pets or for the tourist industry.