A report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) claims that the Nigerian Army has been burying hundreds of soldiers in secret unmarked graves, in a bid to cover up the casualty figures in the ongoing war against insurgency within the North East of the Country.
According to the report, at the northern edge of Maiduguri city’s sprawling military base, a vast field of churned soil conceals the hidden toll of a deadly offensive by the allies of Islamic State.
It further states that after dark, the bodies of soldiers are covertly transported from a mortuary that at times gets so crowded with the corpses that are delivered by truck.
The report says that the bodies are laid by flashlight into trenches dug by infantrymen or local villagers paid a few dollars per shift.
WSJ says its report is based on accounts from Nigerian soldiers, diplomats, and a senior government official.
A soldier who spoke from the Maimalari barracks is quoted as saying, “Several of my comrades were buried in unmarked graves at night,” where more than 1,000 soldiers are based. “They are dying and being deleted from history.”
The secret graveyard at Maimalari isn’t the only one in Nigeria’s troubled northeast, said the senior government official quoted by WSJ.
Meanwhile, former Vice President of Nigeria and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar has said the Nigerian government must reveal the truth concerning the alleged death and secret burial of the soldiers.
Atiku said this in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, obtained by cshowcasenews.com
The full statement reads:
On The Secret Burial of 1000 Soldiers Killed By Boko Haram/ISWAP: Nigerians Are Entitled to Know The Truth
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.
Heartbreak for the families and friends of those soldiers who, if the report is true, have lost their loved ones, without being allowed to bury them or even to have any sense of closure as regards their fate.
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.
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.
Nigeria must ensure prudent use of finances, so we can redistribute national resources in such a way that ensures that our military and security forces are well armed and well remunerated.
Even the death of one soldier affects me. But the alleged cover-up of the deaths of one thousand soldiers is a national emergency that should shock all statesmen and leaders of thoughts into action to save Nigeria.