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CALCUTTA, India (AP) _ A berserk wild elephant rampaged through villages on both sides of the India-Nepal border, trampling and killing 12 people, police said Monday.

Hunters were scouring the thick forests on Monday in search of the beast.

The elephant killed nine people in an Indian border village on Sunday, and three more after crossing over into Nepalese territory, said Jogesh Burman, the wildlife minister of India's West Bengal state.

The elephant entered the grounds of the Marapur tea plantation, near the border with Nepal, at lunchtime, and began trampling everything in its path, local police chief K. Jayaraman said. He said the animal apparently came from a forest in Nepal, and swam across a river before reaching the plantation, about 380 miles north of Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal state.

The pachyderm's first victim was a female worker who was eating lunch in an outdoor courtyard. Next, it trampled an 11-year-old boy, who was playing in a nearby field, followed by three more workers, two guards and two villagers. The elephant also flattened 25 mud huts and three small police shacks, Jayaraman said.

After 30 minutes of havoc, villagers armed with swords and torches joined police and forest guards and chased the elephant away.

The elephant then apparently returned to Nepal, where it struck a few hours later in the border village of Bahun Dagi, 330 miles east of the Nepalese capital of Katmandu, Nepal's private Kantipur Radio reported.

The elephant attacked a 71-year-old villager, then trampled a man and his wife, ages 21 and 19, who were trying to save the old man.