World

After killing of lion, Mugabe says Zimbabweans must protect resources from foreign 'vandals'

  • A woman wearing headwear showing an image of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends a ceremony to honour thousands of fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015. Mugabe, in his first public comments about the popular lion named Cecil, says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect the lion that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    A woman wearing headwear showing an image of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends a ceremony to honour thousands of fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015. Mugabe, in his first public comments about the popular lion named Cecil, says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect the lion that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a ceremony in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015, honouring thousands of fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism. Mugabe, in his first public comments about the popular lion named Cecil, says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect the lion that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a ceremony in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015, honouring thousands of fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism. Mugabe, in his first public comments about the popular lion named Cecil, says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect the lion that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe inspects the guard of honour during a ceremony in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015, honouring thousands of fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism. Mugabe, in his first public comments about the popular lion named Cecil, says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect the lion that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe inspects the guard of honour during a ceremony in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015, honouring thousands of fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism. Mugabe, in his first public comments about the popular lion named Cecil, says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect the lion that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect a popular lion named Cecil that was killed by an American in an allegedly illegal hunt.

In his first public comments about the lion, Mugabe said Monday that Zimbabweans should protect their natural resources from foreign "vandals" who try to illegally acquire those resources.

Referring to Cecil, Mugabe said: "He is dead but yours to protect, and you failed to protect him."

Mugabe made the comments in a speech marking a national holiday honoring fighters who died in the war to end white minority rule.

A Zimbabwean Cabinet minister has called for the extradition of James Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil. Palmer says he relied on his professional guides to ensure the hunt was legal.