Buffalo gores butchers and rampages through Manila

MANILA (AFP) - A water buffalo gored two butchers at a slaughterhouse before going on a rampage through the Philippine capital on Saturday, terrorising hundreds of people and tossing furniture in the lobby of a small hotel.

The three-year-old female, weighing nearly 450kg, injured a total of three people with its horns that are almost half a metre long. It also caused the evacuation of about 200 call centre workers during its two-hour bid for freedom.

"I ran, but it was faster. It tossed me into the air with its horns and when I woke up, I was being stitched up in hospital," said butcher Jonet Rufino, the first victim.

"In my 14 years at work, this is the first time I was attacked by an animal," said the 35-year-old who required 14 stitches to a wound on his backside.

The animal broke loose as it arrived by truck at a central Manila abattoir and went after the butchers with its potentially lethal horns, said police investigator James Bagay.

It then galloped through some of Manila's busiest streets, goring a woman bystander before reaching the Cubao business district, more than a kilometre away.

There, Bagay said, it entered the lobby of a small hotel and tossed some furniture, before breaking into a call centre building.

It broke some glass panels at reception, but no one was hurt - although the building had to be evacuated, he said.

The huge animal was eventually trapped about two hours after the rampage began.

"I've been a policeman in this city for 15 years. I have never seen anything like it," Bagay said.

"The animal was probably stressed after the overnight trip. Its handlers should have paid more attention," he added.

Bagay said the buffalo, which was taken to a police station, would likely still be destined for the abbatoir.

Water buffaloes - plant-eating, mud-loving animals used to pull ploughs and carts in Asian farms - can weigh up to 1,200 kg, with males three times larger than females.

Their meat can be eaten in the Philippines as a substitute for beef.

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