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Three baby chimpanzees were kidnapped from an animal sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Young Animals Confiscated in Katanga sanctuary is located in Lubumashi near the border between Zambia and the DRC.

Frank Chantereay, the sanctuary’s founder told CNN that something like this has never happened before.

“This is the first time in the world that baby apes were kidnapped for ransom.”

CNN reports that kidnappers broke into the sanctuary around 3AM on 9 September and took away three of the five baby chimpanzees that had been rescued so far this year – Cesar, Hussein and Monga. The other two were later found hiding in the kitchen.

An hour after the chimps were kidnapped, the kidnappers sent three messages and a video to Chantereau’s wife.

The kidnappers have contacted Chantereau and have demanded ransom for their release. Chantereau said the sanctuary will not 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.”

Lubumashi is located on a key route between Congo and South Africa. The route is believed to be popular for those smuggling apes from Africa to the rest of the world.

Image credit: Review Informations

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