An overexcited cheetah jumped from behind a fence and scratched the face of Botswana President Ian Khama with its claw, the President’s spokesman said.

Spokesman Jeff Ramsay said the President had two stitches to his nose after the encounter he described as “a freak accident, not an attack.”

The cheetah is part of a menagerie kept by soldiers at the Botswana Defence Force barracks at Mogoditshane in Gaberone, the capital.

Mr. Ramsay said Mr. Khama, 60, went to watch the cheetahs being fed and “one of them got excited and jumped up at him” with its claw reaching above the enclosure. Mr. Khama is well over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall.

“The president was scratched a bit on the nose and elsewhere ... the claw basically grazed his face,” he said.

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