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Child Madonna Hopes to Adopt Leaves Malawi

Witnesses in Malawi say the boy whom American pop star Madonna hopes to adopt has left the country.

A private jet carrying one-year-old David Banda and members of Madonna's staff took off from the capital, Lilongwe Monday.

News reports say the flight will head to South Africa, then to Britain, where the U.S.-born celebrity has a home.

Madonna left Malawi on Friday with her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, after a weeklong visit to the impoverished southern African nation. The child remained in the country due to ongoing legal procedures.

Last Thursday, a judge issued an interim order allowing Madonna to adopt David.

However, several non-governmental rights groups say they will challenge the adoption in court. Malawian law does not allow foreign adoptions.

David's father, Yohame, is a local farmer. He told reporters David's mother died shortly after childbirth, and he is unable to support his son.

Madonna came to Malawi in part to inspect an orphan care center she is funding near Lilongwe.

Her proposed adoption of the Malawian child will be reviewed for 18 months before the judge gives his final decision.