Following reports that over 1,000 soldiers were killed and buried in Borno, the army has reacted.
The Defence Headquarters on Thursday denied the existence of secret graveyards in the North East.
This was revealed in a statement issued via its verified Twitter handle, where it countered the claim of the Wall Street Journal that the Nigerian Military had secret graveyards in the North East theatre of operation.
In the statement signed by Director, Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the Defence HQ said the Armed Forces doesn’t engage in secret burials for its fallen heroes.
Part of the statement read, “This insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication. It therefore becomes necessary to inform the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the interment of our fallen heroes. Therefore, it must be unambiguously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and a profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military.
“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 funeral parade, gravesite oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics, as well as gun salutes, aside other military funeral rites.
“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 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”.
The Defence Headquarters, therefore, urges members of the Armed Forces and the general public to disregard such a misinformed publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced.
The WSJ had in an article titled, “Nigeria Buries Soldiers at Night in Secret Cemetery” alleged that the military buried soldiers in unmarked graves in the North East.
The subtitle of the article read, “While president says war against Islamist insurgency is won, army conceals toll in unmarked graves”.