Vietnam soldier 'sacked over monkey torture'

A Vietnamese soldier has been thrown out of the army after posting graphic photographs on Facebook of the torture and killing of rare wild monkeys, state media said Wednesday.

The online images show Nguyen Van Quang, 20, from central Quang Nam province, in military fatigues forcing the monkeys to smoke cigarettes.

Other photographs show the monkeys being skinned and killed -- images which triggered outrage in Vietnamese-language online forums and prompted broader calls in the media for the men in the photographs to be punished.

The images have since been taken down from the Facebook social networking site but are still widely available online.

"Soldiers who commit barbarous acts against wild animals... must be seriously punished, setting an example for others," Army Major General Nguyen Duc Hai was quoted as saying by the VietnamNet website.

Two other soldiers in the photographs are said to have been given warnings.

The two monkeys, believed to have been endangered grey-shanked douc langurs, were reportedly bought from wildlife traders for $57.

Environment group WWF last month branded Vietnam one of the worst offenders in failing to tackle trade in endangered species.

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