No Secret Graveyards: Army Breaks Down Details of Heroes burial at The Frontlines
RE: SECRET MILITARY CEMETERY CONCEALS TOLL OF ISLAMIST INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
The Nigerian Army has debunked a statement attributed to Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in “The Wall Street Journal” that the Nigerian Army has a secret cemetery that conceal toll of Islamist Insurgency.
The statement that was released by Deputy Director, Public Relations, Operation LAFIYA DOLE Colonel AD Isa stated that:
The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a mischievous Article titled, Secret Military Cemetery Conceals Toll of Islamist Insurgency in Nigeria, was written by Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in “The Wall Street Journal”.
The writer alleged that the bodies of dead soldiers are covertly transported from a mortuary, delivered by truck and laid by flashlights into trenches dug by infantry or local villagers paid a few dollars by shift.
It also alleged that soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night in secret graves.
Similarly, it alleged that Nigerian Government last summer stopped reporting the deaths of soldiers in its fight against Boko Haram. Likewise, it claimed that the operational command holds the bodies of 1000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began offensive last summer.
Additionally, it reported on one Mercy Tamuno, who demanded to see where her husband was buried, and she was led to a spot marked with a plastic bottle with her husbands name written on it.
It further claimed that 2 soldiers from the late soldiers unit said the bottle was prepared to appease his wife.
Furthermore, the writer made some derogatory comments on rotation of troops, gruesome punishments to suspected jihadists and declining morale of own troops.
Having critically studied the allegations, it was obvious that the writer’s claims were baseless and intended to smear the good image of the NA and lower the moral component of troops in the ongoing Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations.
In this light, I wish to respond on behalf of the NA as follows:
Maimalari Military Cemetery is the only recognized place where burials are held in the Theatre.
The stretch of land where the cemetery is located and produce beyond belongs to the NA and not taken over from any person or group of persons as claimed.
This area like in other armies is secured to honour and give recognition to the sacrifices of officers and soldiers who paid the supreme price by laying down their lives for the peace, security and unity of the country.
In our own case, a hall of fame was also built in the cemetery to honour the fallen heroes and act as reference point for posterity.
Burial procedure in the NA is entrenched in the NA Administrative Policies and procedures.
The procedures is triggered by first notifying the higher headquarters and NOKs of the deceased personnel for coordination.
It is a command responsibility and attended by officers and soldiers of the unit within the Theatre of operations.
The timings for all burials in the Theatre have always been before the flags are lowered in the evening.
Maimalari cemetery is partitioned into 2 to accommodate Christians and Islam faithfuls.
The graves are also partitioned, and grave pegs placed to mark each grave. Hence, the claims that soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night in secret graves is unfounded.
Suffice to state that all deceased are also honoured with the 21 gun salute in line with the ethics and traditions of the NA.
As such, one wonder how the firing could be done in secret contrary to NA traditions.
Certainly, commanders on their own cannot carry the corpses to the cemetery without the knowledge and support of the troops.
If this is done with the awareness of the troops, certainly it would not have been a secret.
Likewise, if not done with their knowledge, the commander on his own would not be able to drive the vehicle, carry the corpses, dig the graves and also bury the bodies without any support.
Thus, this allegation is not only worrisome but also questionable. More especially when we have the Governor, Service Chief, Principal Staff Officers from Service Headquarters, Commanders, NOKs, families and members of the press that did attend funeral ceremonies of fallen heroes.
On the allegation that Nigerian Government last summer stopped reporting the deaths of soldiers in its fight against Boko Haram is also disturbing.
Generally, events and lessons learnt from battles have shown that death in combat is inevitable.
In as much as the NA tries to reduce casualties in the battle against the insurgents, it still happens as one of the hazards of war fighting.
Obviously, when such occurrences happen, it is made known to higher headquarters to trigger burial procedures and processing of benefits.
This is also done with the consent of the NOKs and not in the secret. Soldiers also move in pairs or in groups, as such one wonder how the corpses could be isolated without the knowledge of their colleagues, which would have dampened their morale to fight or take orders from their superiors.
The claim that the operational command holds the bodies of 1000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began offensive last summer is just unbelievable.
The questions are where, when, why and for what reason would 1,000 bodies be kept in the hide without anyone seeing it or perceiving the smell.
Curtaining, this allegation further buttress the fact that the writer intends to smear the good image of the NA and the Government.
The report that one Mercy Tamuno, who demanded to see where her husband was buried, and she was led to a spot marked with a plastic bottle with her husbands name written on it is again unbelievable.
Interestingly, 13NA/70/9866 LCpl Adah Tamuno, whose wife; Mrs Mercy Tamuno claimed her husband was buried in the secret grave gave false report.
The late gallant (soldier was serving with 119 TF Bn at Metele and died during combat.
He was officially buried on 29 Nov 18 at the Maimalari Military Cemetery with proper military honour by daylight with the grave well marked, not with a plastic bottle, alongside his colleagues.
The last burial in the Theatre was that of Capt A Mohammed who was killed on 17 Jul 19 in an ambush alongside with Col EE Elemele and 5 others along Jakana-Benisheik MSR.
The Capt was buried on 18 Jul 19 at the Maimalari Military Cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.
The burial was attended by the families of the deceased and other sympathizers.
The writer made some derogatory comments on rotation of troops, gruesome punishments to suspected jihadists and declining morale of own troops.
Suffice to state that the NA has a standing policy on the rotation of troops in the Theatre.
The last rotation of de-inducted troops was conducted on 28 Jul 19 and the troops are currently at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji undergoing de-induction training.
The next batch of troops to be inducted are already at the Nigeria Army Special Forces Training School at Buni Yadi for induction training, after which they would be moved to the Theatre for deployment.
The pictures of the rotated troops are also available and hereby attached. In terms of the gruesome punishments to captured insurgents, one wonders why the writer decided to contradict himself in the article by reporting the immoral activities of the insurgents.
The NA is a professional Army and captured insurgents are treated in line with global best practices and in accordance with International Humanitarian Laws.
Above all, the morale of troops in the theatre remains high and not as reported.
It is obvious that the essence of the report is to distract own troops from maintaining the tempo in the ongoing operations.
The public is hereby advised to disregard the allegations as written by Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in The Wall Street Journal.
The NA remain resolute in its fight against the insurgents and will never be distracted by media propaganda.
The threat to the national security of our beloved country require that all hands are on deck to win the war against terrorism and insurgency.
Governor, Service Chief, Principal Staff Officers from Service Headquarters, Commanders, Next of kins, families as well as members of the Press attend befitting funeral ceremonies of fallen heroes with Gun Salute.
Army to Review Troops’ Conduct During Elections, other Operations
The Nigerian Army is set to review the conduct of troops in Operation Safe Conduct during the just concluded 2023 general elections across the country.
The review is expected to take place during the forthcoming Chief of Army Staff First Quarter 2023 Conference.
This is contained in a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.
Nwachukwu said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, would interact with the General Officers Commanding (GOC), field commanders and other senior officers.
He said that the interaction would help to provide possible guidance towards enhancing army operations and other activities.
He said the conference, which would hold from April 3 to April 6 would offer an avenue for reappraisal of the administrative affairs of the Nigerian army.
He added that it would also help in evaluation and comprehensive review of ongoing operational engagements within the first quarter.
According to him, this will provide the army an in-depth insight to enable far reaching decisions towards achieving its set objective of addressing the multifaceted security challenges confronting the country.
Nwachukwu said that the COAS would present a new Toyota Hilux vehicles each to 14 Army Warrant Officers who had attained the peak of their soldiering career.
“Similarly, the COAS will commission the newly constructed Faruk Yahaya Historical Park located at Asokoro Abuja.
“The conference will also showcase some research and development effort of the Nigerian Army in an exhibition.
“The three days conference promises to be very eventful, as it will witness a review of the conduct of troops during the recently concluded Operation SAFE CONDUCT 2023 and other operations across the country,” he said.
Nwachukwu reaffirmed the commitment and resolve of the Nigerian army to discharging its constitutional mandate professionally.
“We will also be resolute in upholding our values of courage, selfless sacrifice, respect, discipline and unalloyed loyalty to constituted authority,” he added. (NAN)
Buhari Pleased with Troops` Performance in North East – Gen. Irabor
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says that President Muhammadu Buhari is happy with the troops performance in the fight against insurgents in the North East.
Irabor stated this on Thursday in Maiduguri while addressing troops at the headquarters of the Joint Task Force, North East Operation Hadin Kai.
“The Commander in Chief is happy with you and has asked me to relay to you to keep up the standard and momentum that you are displaying in the north east operation,” Irabor said.
The CDS also lauded the successes being recorded by the troops, adding that it was based on their sense of patriotism and resilience.
He said that the troops` performance showed the true manifestation of the training provided to them.
Irabor said that commanders in the theatre were putting final touches for more onslaughts on remnants of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
“You must ensure that the criminals wherever they are hiding you smoke them out
“I know that you will do that, very soon we will be back to celebrate together,” Irabor said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CDS also held a meeting with the Theatre Commander, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, GOC 7 Division, Maj. Gen. Waidi Shuaibu and other operational commanders.
He also interacted with wounded soldiers at the military hospital in Maimalari Cantonment. (NAN)
Former CGS, Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya dies at 79
Former Chief of General Staff under Gen. Sani Abacha’s government, retired Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya(GCON), is dead.
The former military governor of Ogun died at the age of 79.
His death was announced on Sunday in a statement by his son, Oyesinmilola Diya.
It read, “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to Glory of our dear husband, father, grandfather and brother, Lt- Gen.
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of March 26, 2023.Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period.
Further announcements will be made public in due course,” he said.(NAN)
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