Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

It's a dogs life

An English springer spaniel with a talent for sniffing out guns, ammunition and explosives in Iraq has survived a suspected contract killing, a British newspaper reported Wednesday. Blaze, who is serving with British forces in southern Iraq, escaped with only cuts and bruises after the would-be killer roared up in a car, "deliberately swerved" and hit him, The Sun said, quoting military sources. "There is no doubt that this was a deliberate assassination attempt," a senior army officer was quoted as saying. "We are convinced that there was a price on Blaze's head." The incident took place on a road in Al-Zubayr, southwest of Basra city, the headquarters for 8,800 British troops who occupy oil-rich southern Iraq, the newspaper said. Blaze is among several sniffer dogs brought to Iraq by the British army to help find weapons and explosives. Each costs 25,000 pounds (37,500 euros, 46,000 dollars) to train. His handler, Lance Corporal Steve Dineley, 24, said: "I was gutted when he got run over and so were all the guys. We were very angry but he has made a great recovery." (Sapa-AFP)