MANILA, Philippines - Four police officers from Zamboanga City were injured in battle Tuesday, not to a pack of communist rebels but a flightless cassowary bird.
Police Inspector Leonardo Panes said he and several police trainees were resting at a store inside the Regional Training School-9 of the Philippine Public Safety College when the 4-foot bird passed by and started attacking them.
Panes said he used a stool to push the bird away, which then attacked the others with its powerful claws.
Police Inspector Nicanor Bautista said he was scratched 4 times by the angry bird. "Binubugaw na siya palabas ng mga recruit tapos sumigaw ang ibon, hinabol kami. Nakita ko pakpak niya, tapos sinipa niya ako," he said.
Police Inspector Media Lapangan Jr. said he fell down after trying to run away from the bird. He said he tried to kick the bird away, which made it even angrier.
"Natumba ako. Sinipa ko siya sa dibdib kaya umatras siya pero bumwelo lang pala. Nagroll na kami. Nakita ko sa side ng pakpak niya, may secret weapon pala," he said.
Some of the policemen thought about shooting the bird but decided against it since they did not know if it was valuable. In the end, the police worked together to capture the bird.
The policemen said the bird seemed to get angry with their common green uniforms. None of the trainees, who were wearing uniforms of a different color, was attacked.
It was later learned that the cassowary, which is similar in appearance to an ostrich, had escaped a local aviary.
The police officers have no plans to sue the aviary caretaker but asked that he pay back their medical bills.
For his part, Bautista said it was the first time that he had ever been injured since entering the police force. Report by Queenie Casimiro, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga