June 5, 2008 / 11:07 AM / 10 years ago

Elephant kills mahout, blocks highway in Bangladesh

DHAKA, June 5 (Reuters) - A circus elephant trampled its mahout to death in southeastern Banglaesh and then ran around a highway, scaring off people, police said on Thursday.

Police said trouble began when the mahout hit the elephant on its head with an iron bar after the animal resisted walking through a river bridge near Barishal city, 280 km (175 miles) south of the capital Dhaka, on Wednesday.

The elephant was part of a group of three being taken to perform in a circus show, a police officer said.

After trampling the mahout on the spot, the elephant went berserk and ran around forcing traffic on a highway to halt for more than two hours before it was put under a chain.

Around 100 of Bangladesh’s 400 elephants are captive, engaged by circus parties, work agencies and authorised forest loggers.

On average, nearly 20 people are killed by wild elephants in Bangladesh each year, a rising trend party due to shrinking forests.

(Reporting by Nizam Ahmed)

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