There has been a mass burial of victims of last week’s Islamist uprising in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, which killed hundreds of people, a government spokesman said Sunday. “Our evacuation team has finished removing all dead bodies from the streets of the city. Families are nor forthcoming in claiming the dead bodies. Therefore, the government decided to bury them in mass graves,” Usman Chiroma, spokesman of Borno State government, said.
“It is difficult for the bodies to be claimed, because their dead relations were members of the Boko Haram (sect) that waged war against the government. They just don’t want to be associated with them,” he added.
Although the police and military declined to give a figure for the number of bodies involved, ThisDay newspaper put it at about 700. Clashes between security forces and sect members in four northern states — Bauchi, Kano, Yobe and Borno — killed more than 600 people in five days of violence, according to police and witnesses.
Most of the dead were in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where the Nigerian military bombarded the headquarters of the Boko Haram extremist sect and killed its leader Mohammed Yusuf, 39. His killing while in military custody has been condemned by rights groups. Residents in Maiduguri told an AFP reporter by telephone that rotting bodies that had littered the streets of the northeastern university city had been removed for burial.
Lawan Galadima, a trader in Bayan Quarters, which was home to many followers of the anti-Western sect, said: “by yesterday (Saturday) evening, all dead bodies in this area had been removed.” “Health workers and police piled them into trucks and took them away. Now we are relieved of the nauseating stench that disturbed us in the past few days,” he added.
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