Malawi president Joyce Banda speaks with Botswana president Ian Khama during the official opening of a 'Poverty Eradication workshop' in Maun, northwestern Botswana, on March 26, 2013 (Monirul Bhuiyan/AFP/Getty Images)
GABERONE, Botswana (AP) - The Botswanan president's spokesman says an overexcited cheetah jumped from behind a fence and scratched the leader's face with its claw.
Spokesman Jeff Ramsay said President Ian Khama 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 Defense Force barracks at Mogoditshane in Gaberone, the capital.
Ramsay said 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. Khama is well over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall.
Ramsay said "The president was scratched a bit on the nose and elsewhere ... the claw basically grazed his face."