Slovak President Rudolf Schuster has made an amazing claim that he was held hostage by a tribe of Indians while on holiday in the Amazon earlier this year.
Speaking on national television December 11 Schuster claimed that, in response to an invitation from a tribe of Indians to visit them, he had been trekking through the jungle with the Slovak honorary consul to Brazil when he suddenly found himself surrounded by members of another tribe.
The second tribe then began to flash spears around, and the president said he thought they would begin fighting.
But rather than attack it was soon made clear the Indians had seen a white man and wanted to know what they could get out of him. Schuster, along with the honorary consul's wife, were then abducted. "We were taken hostage. We didn't know why," he said.
A set of demands was then issued to the president. He agreed to them and was released, promising to send what the tribe wanted later.
But when he returned to Slovakia he was shocked to find what some of the demands had actually been. "There were Mercedes and cows there among the demands," he said. He decided that he would not send the cars and cattle.
"When I started to go over it back home I thought to myself that even President Bush, had he been in that situation, wouldn't have been able to fulfill those demands, they were so much," the president said. He added that the Indian tribe he came across had in the past been infamous for their cruelty and violence.
A spokesman for the president, Jozef Leikert, told The Slovak Spectator he could not comment on the president's adventure as it had been "a private trip and the president was speaking on television in a personal capacity".
The president's trip to the Amazon this summer, for which he paid himself, drew massive media attention when the head of state fell ill from dehydration and had to be taken to hospital. He recovered only to be involved in another scare when the boat he was staying on nearly sank.
17. Dec 2001 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA