In an account typical of some circulating in Basra, a resident told the BBC that she was attacked by a dog-sized creature with the head of a monkey. Many locals believe that such creatures (recently identified as honey badgers) have been released by the British to sow panic. The rumors have now been officially denied by UK military spokesman Maj. Mike Shearer: “We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.”
Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.
But several of the creatures, caught and killed by local farmers, have been identified by experts as honey badgers.
The rumours spread because the animals had appeared near the British base at Basra airport.