A 10-year-old girl has been killed in a brutal attack by a wild animal after two boys died earlier this week, it is reported.
The young child, identified as Rutba Manzoor, was said to have been jumped by the beast on Tuesday and taken to a nearby forest in the Baramulla district of northern Kashmir.
Despite the screams of her family and neighbors, the animal, possibly a leopard, ran off with the child and disappeared into the dense forest.
Attempts to capture the animal failed and later a search led to the tragic discovery of the 10-year-old’s body.
The death means three children have died in just two days after the bodies of two boys were found on Sunday, Kashmir News Service reported.
A 12-year-old boy named Shahid Ahmad was found in the forest area after searching for livestock.
And the body of Muneer Ahmad, aged 15, was found dead after he suffered injuries that also indicated he had been attacked by a wild animal.
The incidents have sparked panic in the area and the community has urged authorities to take action and find the animal.
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Animal attacks on humans are becoming increasingly common in the region and there was a meeting at the Baramulla Deputy Commissioner’s Office with police and civilian representatives.
While a strategy has been put in place to look for the animal, the Department for Wildlife Protection, whose responsibility it is to deal with such incidents, is severely understaffed, officials said.
But a team of 50 men has been assembled to search for the animal, and Rashid Naqash, the regional conservation officer, said he is confident they will catch it soon.
“This is a coordinated operation involving forest protection, J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) police and local people trying to capture or kill the animal,” Naqash said, the Kashmir Observer reported.