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Thursday, 17 May, 2001, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Monkey mystery baffles Delhi
Delhi resident Devender Kumar shows his bruises
The attacks take place at night
Police in the Indian capital Delhi are still on the trail of a mysterious creature which has allegedly attacked the city's residents.

The creature, which is described as part man, part monkey, has apparently struck in 65 locations and has led to the deaths of at least two people.

We cannot yet say who, or what, is causing these attacks

Suresh Roy, Delhi police
In the absence of solid fact, and fuelled by intense media attention and lurid descriptions, the "man-monkey" has spread panic in parts of Delhi.

Police say they have been flooded with panic calls, not all of which are genuine.

"Altogether we received about 100 distress calls but only 16 attacks could be verified," Suresh Roy, the deputy commissioner of police, said on Thursday.

"Eighteen people have been injured since last night. We cannot yet say who, or what, is causing these attacks," he said.

'Nocturnal beast'

The attacks have taken place at night, and have targeted people sleeping on the roofs of their houses to escape the summer heat.

When I grabbed it, it turned into a cat with glowing eyes

One resident's vivid account
Patrols have been stepped up in areas where the creature has been sighted, with police manning rooftops.

But their job has been made harder with the wildly varying descriptions of the creature. It is said to be anything between a tiny man to a tall beast - some say with metal claws.

"When I grabbed it, it turned into a cat with glowing eyes," one resident, who claimed to have encountered the creature, said.

"It looks like a monkey and has green lights as eyes and springs on its feet. It has a huge metallic silver hand which glows in the dark," he said.

Rumours dismissed

The event has made the front-pages of the capital's daily newspapers, which have even published police sketches of the mysterious creature.

Rhesus monkey
Of late monkeys have become a menace in Delhi
But animal experts rejected the notion that the creature was a primate of any sort.

"I am 120% sure they are humans," primatologist Iqbal Malick told the AFP news agency.

"These are most definitely pranksters who are getting kicks our of their jokes and, in the process, giving monkeys a bad name," she said.

Delhi is home to the rhesus monkey which has become a menace in recent times, attacking bureaucrats in government ministries and tearing files and documents.

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15 May 01 | South Asia
Mysterious 'man-monkey' strikes Delhi
09 Jan 01 | South Asia
Monkeys invade Delhi government
14 Apr 00 | South Asia
Monkeys create havoc in Delhi
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