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Secret Burials: Army Debunks Claims With Video Evidence

The Nigerian Army on Saturday released a video compiling some of the burials it had conducted between 2018 and 2019, noting that burials are conducted only in “broad daylight” and in the presence of commanders, officers and family members.

The army’s two-minute video was released by the Department of Army Public Relations and showed at least four burial sessions, done in the daytime and attended by the Chief of the Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and other top military commanders.

The army had on Friday released the photographs of the graves of Lance Corporal Adah Tamuno, who was named in a Wall Street Journal report, and other soldiers who were buried in Maimalari Cemetery in Maiduguri, Borno State, in November 2018.

The army had claimed that it did not carry out any burial without the knowledge of the next-of-kin and families of its slain troops, noting that Adah and others were buried in the presence of the Chief of Army Staff and their graves were well marked.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations and Operation Lafiya Dole’s spokesperson, Col Ado Isa, had released the photographs on Friday in response to a Wall Street Journal report.

The journal had reported on Wednesday that at evenings, corpses of soldiers were allegedly moved out discreetly and taken to a secret graveyard in the Maimalari area of Maiduguri, Borno State.

The report quoted soldiers, military officers and senior government officials as its sources, noting that the secret graveyard and an official cemetery at Maimalari both “hold the bodies of at least 1,000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began an offensive last summer.”

The army said in the video, “All formations and units in the Nigerian Army, located at the Maimalari Cantonment, including the 7 Division in Maiduguri, maintain a cemetery where personnel and members of their family are buried.

“Maimalari cemetery is the only place where burials of deceased personnel of the army are conducted in the North-East Theatre of Operation.”

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