Journalism of Courage

Nigeria Military Vehemently Denies ‘Secret Graves’ Media Report

The Nigerian Military vehemently denied a report by the WSJ that alleged the Army maintains secret graveyards in the North East theatre of operation.

“Therefore, it must be unambiguously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military, said Defence spokesman, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu.

“This insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication.”

The Military said that the cemetery described in the publication, 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.

Nwachukwu said in tandem with the traditions of the Armed Forces, Fallen heroes are duly honoured and paid the last respect in befitting military funeral of international standard, featuring a funeral parade, gravesite oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics, as well as gun salutes, aside from other military funeral rites.

The Wall Street Journal in a report Thursday said that after dark, the bodies of soldiers are covertly transported from a mortuary that at times gets so crowded the corpses are delivered by truck.

Speaking with WSJ a soldier said the bodies are laid by flashlight into trenches dug by infantrymen or local villagers paid a few dollars per shift.

The sprawling secret graveyard in Maiduguri and an official cemetery at the base, the operational command for the northeastern front in Borno State, hold the bodies of at least 1,000 soldiers killed since the terror Boko Haram groups began an offensive last year, according to soldiers and military officials—some of whom estimated a far higher death toll.



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