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ssAli Ben Mamoud, an Arabian emir, hires renegade hunter Joe Hawkins to recover the Lost Idol of the Watusi, a rare archaeological treasure, which Mamoud took from a witch doctor's hut in Tanganyika. The idol was then taken from Mamoud by Bomba, a young white man abandoned years earlier in the jungle. Mamoud, who has arranged to hand the idol over to the British in exchange for a large reward, tells Hawkins that Commissioner Andy Barnes will be arriving within a week to collect the statue. Mamoud instructs Hawkins to take Bomba prisoner so that he can torture the youth for having upset his plans. Hawkins leaves immediately, accompanied by his tracker Gomo, Mamoud and some of his men. Meanwhile, Bomba has spotted his old friend Barnes, traveling upriver in an outboard motorboat, and signals him to come ashore. Bomba welcomes Barnes and his two native assistants Eli and Ezekial and is introduced to their passenger, Karen Marsh, an archaeologist who intends to acquire the idol for her museum. Bomba informs her that Mamoud no longer has the idol, and that Mamoud tortured and killed the witch doctor in order to obtain it. Bomba then offers to turn over the idol in exchange for the reward, which he promises to give to the witch doctor's needy tribe. Both Hawkins and Mamoud have witnessed this meeting from a distance and Hawkins decides that it should be easy to get the idol by posing as a game hunter and joining Barnes's group. After Bomba saves Karen from a lion attack, Hawkins enters their camp, introduces himself and learns that Bomba intends to recover the idol that night. Later, after Bomba leaves the camp, he runs into Mamoud's men and is taken prisoner. When Hawkins arrives, Bomba realizes that he is part of the plot, but points out that if they torture or kill him, they will never learn where he has hidden the idol. After Hawkins returns to the camp and takes Barnes and his men prisoner, Mamoud enters with the captive Bomba and proceeds to torture Karen, forcing Bomba to agree to produce the idol by sundown of the following day in exchange for Karen's life. Mamoud sends two of his men to guard Bomba while the others remain in the camp. At night, while Gomo is on guard duty, Nakimba, Bomba's chimpanzee companion, drops a rock on Gomo's head, knocking him out. Nakimba then unties Eli, who frees Barnes and Karen, after which they all escape. When Gomo recovers, he alerts Hawkins and Mamoud and they pursue Barnes and the others, assuming that they have headed for the Pangola Basin. Meanwhile, Bomba has overpowered Ali's men and sends a message over the jungle drum to the district police station, from where officers Reed and Graves leave to help him. The next morning, Bomba reaches the basin and dives in to swim to the idol's underwater hiding place. Barnes, Karen and Eli arrive at the basin and wait for Bomba to emerge. Hawkins and Mamoud are closing in on them, so when Bomba returns, he gives the idol to Karen and tells them to leave while he creates a diversion. A group of men, led by Gomo, spot the trio, chase them and exchange gunfire. When Hawkins and Mamoud arrive, Bomba swims under their boat and capsizes it, throwing both men into the river. As Bomba and Hawkins fight in the water, Mamoud becomes the victim of a giant water snake. Reed and Graves arrive in time to help Barnes and the others ward off an attack and arrest Gomo and his men. Bomba then drags Hawkins to shore and hands him over to the officers. Later, with the idol safely in their possession, Barnes and Karen head back to civilization while Bomba happily returns to his jungle.