Thursday, 1 August 2019

Over 1000 soldiers reportedly buried in secret cemetery in Maiduguri, Atiku, DHQ react

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal,  Nigerian military secretly buried over 1,000 soldiers killed on the battlefront in the fight against Boko Haram in Maiduguri, Borno state.

Quoting military sources, the report said the number of soldiers buried in that manner could be higher than the figure.




The report said the bodies of soldiers are mostly transported to the secret cemetery at night by trucks due to the large number.

It said on the eve of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Borno in November 2019, army commanders secretly moved corpses of soldiers from a morgue to unmarked graves.

“When President Buhari visited the Maiduguri base in November, commanders rushed to bury bodies that had collected at the morgue from the recent attack on the base in Metele and several others, according to several soldiers at the base,” the report read.

“They moved the bodies from the morgue into the unmarked graves under cover of darkness.”

A soldier was quoted as saying: “We could see the headlamps and the torches of the engineering division digging the graves.”

According to Wall Street Journal, this is the fence of the secret burial ground
The report said as the commanders prepared the base for the president’s arrival, they also drafted in additional medical staff to treat the dozens of wounded soldiers in the base’s hospital wards.

It said as soldiers tried to register complaints about their conditions when Buhari addressed them, the president pledged to do everything within his powers to continue empowering them.

The military authorities are reportedly trying to expand the secret graveyard.

“As the secret cemetery at the Maimalari barracks grows, the military has expanded the site into neighboring fields,” the report read.

  A 50-year-old farmer, Sarah James, was quoted as saying: “The farmland has been fenced off so they can bury the forces.”

Reacting to the report, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, called for an independent inquiry into the alleged secret burial of soldiers.

In a statement on Thursday, the former vice-president said it is shocking that such a thing could happen under a democratic government.



The former vice-president described the situation as “a national emergency that should shock all statesmen and leaders of thoughts into action to save Nigeria.”

“Shock, that such a thing could happen under a democracy, such as Nigeria is supposed to be. I shudder to think that the cover-up of such an event of epic proportions can be true,” he said.

“The men and women of our armed forces are our first, second and last defence against our domestic and foreign enemies and should be treated with love, respect, dignity and appreciation for the invaluable service they render to Nigeria.

“I cannot fathom that in the space of a year, 1000 of these great patriots were killed and buried secretly without their families being told. I hesitate to believe that deceit on such a grand scale is even possible.

“To ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, I urge that a judicial commission of inquiry headed by a non-partisan and reputable jurist, be inaugurated to investigate the findings of the Wall Street Journal. While this is occurring, I also strongly urge that a panel of inquiry comprising distinguished former military officers be set up to investigate and report to Nigerians the true state of the war on terror and what must be done to ensure Nigeria brings a speedy end to the ongoing insurgency.”

Meanwhile, the defence headquarters has denied the existence of any secret military graveyards in Borno state.

Defence spokesman, Onyema Nwachukwu, made the denial while reacting to the report by the Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, Nwachukwu described the publication as “sacrilegious” and “a figment of the imagination of the writer.”

“This insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication,” he said, adding that Nigeria’s armed forces has a “rich and solemn tradition for the interment of our fallen heroes.”

The defence spokesman further said the military always gives befitting funerals to soldiers killed in the course of duty and does not indulge in secret burials.

“The cemetery described in the publication, which is situated in Maimalari military Cantonment is an officially designated military cemetery for the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East theatre, with a Cenotaph erected in honour of our fallen heroes,” the statement added.

“The official cemetery has played host to several national and international dignitaries, where wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes. It is therefore a far cry from the sacrilegious impression being painted by Wall Street Journal.”


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