from Associated Press

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OCTOBER 21, 12:29 EDT

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GAUHATI, India (AP) Wild elephants broke into a cluster of thatched huts, guzzled rice  beer fermenting in casks and then tore the village apart in a drunken rampage, trampling  four people to death and injuring six, a wildlife official said Thursday. 

 The herd of 15 elephants descended Wednesday on the village of Prajapatibosti, 180 miles  east of Gauhati, state capital of northeastern Assam, elephant expert Kushal Konwar Sharma  said. 

 The elephants broke into the thatched huts with their trunks and then began drinking rice  beer from casks, Sharma said in a telephone interview from Golaghat. 

 ``After drinking the beer the elephant herd became intoxicated and went on a rampage,  trampling to death four members of a family,'' he said. The animals trampled rice paddies  and more huts before leaving the area Thursday morning. 

 At least 100 people have been killed in elephant attacks during the past year in Assam, where  5,000 wild elephants are estimated to be living. Human encroachment and a shrinking forest  habitat have been the main causes of the problem, Sharma said. 

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