British Forces Blamed For Basra Badgers
Aug 9, 2007 by Andrew Hull
Word has been circulating recently amongst Basra locals that U.K. troops released strange man eating, bear like beasts into the area in order to create panic.
The rumours apparently began because the animals first appeared near to the British base at Basra airport. British forces have completely denied all responsibility and U.K. military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said, "We can categorically state that we have not released man eating badgers into the area and we have been told these are indigenous nocturnal carnivores that don't attack humans unless cornered”.
Several of the creatures that have been caught and killed by local farmers have been identified by experts as honey badgers and the director of Basra's veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul told the A.F.P. news agency, "These appeared before the fall of the regime in 1986 and they are known locally as Al-Girta. Talk that this animal was brought by the British forces is incorrect and unscientific”.
The animal in question is a fact a honey badger and is a large, sharp clawed mammal slightly bigger than its British woodland cousin. It is capable of taking on a cobra and weighs up to 14kg (30lb) and is indigenous to Africa and the Middle East.
Dr Ghazi Yaqub Azzam, the deputy dean of Basra's veterinary college speculates that the badgers were being driven towards the city because of flooding in the marshlands north of Basra but his assurances did very little to convince many of the locals.
One housewife, Suad Hassan, claimed that she had been attacked by one of the badgers whilst she slept. “My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer. It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey”.