A group of yet-to-be-identified kidnappers has abducted three baby chimpanzees from an animal sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), demanding ransoms before releasing the animals.
CNN reports that Franck Chantereau, founder of the sanctuary where the kidnap took place expressed shock at the development, saying that this is the first time in the world that baby apes will be kidnapped for ransoms.
The kidnappers were reported to have broken into the sanctuary at about 3 a.m. on September 9 according to Chantereau.
Detailing further, the sanctuary’s founder said his wife received three texts from the kidnappers and a video of the chimpanzees an hour after the break-in.
He further disclosed that three of the kidnapped baby chimpanzees were among the 5 chimpanzees rescued so far this year. He later found the other two hiding in the kitchen.
“They told us that they had planned to kidnap my children because they were supposed to come here on vacation. But they didn’t come so the kidnappers took these three babies hostage and demanded a large amount of ransom from us,” Chantereau said.
The kidnappers claimed to have drugged the chimps and threatened to hurt them if Chantereau didn’t pay the ransom.
“Obviously, it’s impossible for us to pay the ransom not only do we not have the money, but you need to understand that if we go their way, they could very well do it again in two months, and also we have no guarantee that they will return the baby to us.”
Chantereau was also worried that it might invite more kidnappings. There are 23 sanctuaries doing this across the continent. We must be incredibly watchful because if we pay the ransom, it can set a precedent and give others ideas.