Indian Army’s Yeti ‘footprint’ pictures cause online storm

Men measure large foot prints in the snow, sighted by the Indian Army in the northeastern Himalayas. (AFP)
Updated 30 April 2019

Indian Army’s Yeti ‘footprint’ pictures cause online storm

  • Several Twitter observers asked why there was only one footprint when the beast would probably have had two feet

NEW DELHI: Pictures of a “Yeti footprint” the Indian Army posted on social media triggered a barrage of jokes Tuesday.

“For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’,” an apparently serious — though misspelled — tweet on the army’s official account said Monday, alongside three images of prints in the snow.

It added the “elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past,” referring to footprints reported by British explorer Eric Shipton in 1951 on the west side of Mount Everest.

According to folklore, the abominable snowman lives in the Himalayas but no proof of the enormous creature has ever been produced.

Social media users were quick to jump on the Indian military for its tweet. “With all due respect, institutions such as yours should be more responsible and careful before going ahead and declaring the sighting of any footprints as ‘Yeti’s’!”, said Kushal Prajapati.

“There’s been lots of research done on Bigfoot/Yeti (including sighting/footprints) with none proving its existence,” he added.

“Seriously disappointing to see Army propagating such foolish myths into reality. Expected better from you guys,” said another comment.

Several Twitter observers asked why there was only one footprint when the beast would probably have had two feet.

Others, were more forgiving, though still tongue-in-cheek.

“Congratulations, we are always proud of you. salutes to the #IndianArmy Mountaineering Expedition Team,” wrote Tarun Vijay, a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. But Vijay said the snowman should not be referred to as “a beast.”

The army said the footprints measured 32 inches by 15 inches and were spotted by a team on April 9 close to the Makalu Base Camp, an isolated area on the Nepal-China frontier.

An army official said that pictures were released to “excite a bit of a scientific temper.” “We will share whatever we get with the domain experts to analyze. We will be contacting the team on the satphone in the evening for more details about it,” the official said.

The yeti is traditionally described as an ape-like creature, taller than a human, that lives in the Himalayas, Siberia, and parts of Central and East Asia.

Forensic results of previous samples have proved to be from prehistoric bears.


3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

Updated 28 February 2020

3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

  • The force would be a significant new player in the Sahel where fighters linked to Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group killed thousands of people last year
  • The decision by African leaders comes as the United States considers cutting its military presence in Africa while urging African solutions to African problems

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: African leaders have decided to work on deploying 3,000 troops to West Africa’s troubled Sahel region as extremist attacks surge, an African Union official said Thursday.
The force would be a significant new player in the sprawling, arid region south of the Sahara Desert where fighters linked to Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group killed thousands of people last year — at times working together in an unprecedented move.
The decision by African leaders comes as the United States considers cutting its military presence in Africa while urging African solutions to African problems. That has sparked pressure from worried security allies including France and regional countries as well as a rare bipartisan outcry among lawmakers in Washington.
Smail Chergui, the African Union commissioner for peace and security, relayed the new troop decision that was taken at the recent AU summit during a meeting Thursday with visiting European Union officials.
The AU continental body is expected to work with the West African regional counterterror force G5 Sahel as well as the West African regional body ECOWAS, which has formed peacekeeping units in the past, Chergui said.
ECOWAS in September announced what Chergui called a “very bold” plan to counter extremism in the region, including mobilizing up to $1 billion through 2024.
“As you see and recognize yourself, the threat is expanding and becoming more complex,” Chergui said. “Terrorists are now even bringing a new modus operandi from Afghanistan and Al-Shabab” in Somalia.
It was not immediately clear what the next steps would be in forming the AU force for the Sahel, which has become the most active region in Africa for extremist attacks.
The force would join France’s largest overseas military operation, the 5,100-strong Barkhane, and the 15,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, one of the hardest-hit countries in the attacks along with Burkina Faso and Niger.