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Russell Brand's Bodyguards Allegedly Assault and Strand Photographers during Tiger Safari

ETonline, Friday, October 22, 2010, 9:57am (PDT)

A source tells ET that on the eve of his reported wedding to superstar Katy Perry, Russell Brand allegedly watched Friday as his bodyguards scuffled with photographers in a preserve where tigers roamed freely. According to a source, the guards assaulted the photographers and took the keys to the jeep the photographers were riding in, stranding them among deadly wildlife.

According to ET's source, Indian police intend to question Brand about the incident "at the first opportunity," which would be Saturday, Brand and Perry's reported wedding day.

The source reports that wildlife photographer Aditya Singh witnessed the incident and said, "The visitors came into the park later than usual and seemed to be enjoying the safari. I had seen a beautiful tiger just ten minutes before and had pointed them in the right direction."

"Russell Brand's group were on their way to see the tiger when a jeep with five Indian photographers started driving alongside them. At this stage the three bodyguards, who were following Brand's jeep, started to get aggressive. They started driving really fast and I knew things were going to go bad immediately," Singh explained.

"The bodyguards and photographers both stopped their jeeps. This huge guy jumped out and pulled the car keys out of the photographers' ignition," Singh told our source.

"He started getting really tough and the photographers jumped out of the jeep to try and get their keys back -- they must have been scared because you don't want to be stuck in an open car with tigers around you and no way to escape. The bodyguards started pushing the photographers around. One of them got hit on the head and was bleeding. Then the huge guy jumped straight into the photographers' jeep. At this point the bodyguards' guide got off the jeep and tried to stop the fight. Out of nowhere forest officials arrived and tried to stop the fight. Eventually it ended and they drove off," Singh continued.

"The whole thing lasted around ten minutes. Russell Brand saw a bit of it before being driven away," Singh said. "When the bodyguards drove off they just left their guide standing in the middle of the road, they didn't care about him, his life could have been in danger."

The Associated Press reported Friday that the photographers allegedly involved in the incident worked for the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and the Hindustan Times. The AP photographer, Mustafa Quraishi, reports that one of the bodyguards, who spoke with British accents, approached their jeep in the preserve, punched the driver in the face, and took the keys to the vehicle. Quraishi says he jumped out to reclaim the keys and was punched repeatedly by the guard, who allegedly also broke Quraishi's glasses and took his camera flash and cut his arm with it.

When two other photogs tried to help Quraishi, the other guard allegedly hit them, causing one to bleed from the head, Quraishi tells the AP. He says the bodyguards drove away, leaving them stranded among deadly wildlife including tigers, leopards, wild boars, hyenas and sloth bears. The photographers had to wait for park rangers to get their keys from the bodyguards and return them before they could drive to safety, Quraishi told the AP.

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