FLASH | Over 1,000 Nigerian Soldiers Buried Secretly in Maiduguri
Over 1,000 Nigerian soldiers killed in the war against Boko Haram were secretly buried in Maiduguri, Borno state, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Quoting military sources, the newspaper said the number of soldiers buried in that manner could be higher than the figure.
It said on the eve of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Borno in November, 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.”
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.
Sarah James, a 50-year-old farmer, was quoted as saying: “The farmland has been fenced off so they can bury the forces.”
Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and presidential candidate of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday called for a probe. In a statement on his Twitter handle, Atiku said he read the report by WSJ “with a sense of heartbreak and shock.”
I read the report by the Wall Street Journal that over a thousand Nigerian soldiers have been secretly buried at night by the General Muhammadu Buhari led administration, in order to hide the true state of the war on terror, with a sense of heartbreak and shock.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) August 1, 2019
The Nigerian Presidency is yet to issue a statement on the report. The Nigerian Army authorities are equally silent, neither confirming nor denying the report.
The report comes in the wake of a Presidency statement on Tuesday stating that Boko Haram has been degraded and defeated.
More to come…