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Boko Haram: International Peace Foundation Cautions Atiku over Claim of Secret Burials

The Mahatma Gandi Peace Foundation, Nepal has asked the former vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be cautious of comments he makes concerning the fight against terrorism in the interest of peace and national unity.

The Foundation gave the advice following a comment the former President made on his Facebook page following a news publication by The Wall Street Journal alleging that over 1,000 soldiers are killed by Boko Haram were buried secretly at night.

In a statement signed by its Senior Programme Officer, Solomon Semaka, the Foundation explained that while the insurgency in the north east was regrettable, all leaders of thought must be united in supporting the military if the war against insurgency must be successfully prosecuted.

According to the Foundation, the statement made by the former vice President suggesting that the alleged secret burial was executed by the Federal Government was counterproductive as it is capable of dampening the morale of the troops especially as the claims in the story were yet to be ascertained.

In the post, the former vice president had said thus, “I read the report by the Wall Street Journal that over a thousand Nigerian soldiers have been secretly buried at night by the General Muhammadu Buhari led administration, in order to hide the true state of the war on terror, with a sense of heartbreak and shock.

“Heartbreak for the families and friends of those soldiers who, if the report is true, have lost their loved ones, without being allowed to bury them or even to have any sense of disclosure as regards their fate”.

However, the Foundation said the former Vice President from his statement could not himself authenticate the report but categorically stated that President Muhammadu Buhari administration had buried soldiers secretly in order to hide the true situation of the insurgency war.

“It is too hasty for anyone especially the former Vice President to conclude that over 1000 soldiers killed at the theatre of war were secretly buried by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The acceptable thing is to call for proper investigation of the allegations first. But attributing the alleged secret burial to the Buhari administration and yet calling for investigation casts doubt on the intent of the former vice president . That he drew conclusion from mere allegations made by a news medium is to say the least too simplistic and capable of dampening the morale of troops who are in the war front.

“As an independent organisation devoted to building peaceful societies, we shall carry out independent investigation into the matter. This is because the allegation is grave and must be given due diligence in order to unravel the true position.

“We hereby encourage the Army not to be distracted but remain resolute in the fight to restore peace to the troubled areas”.

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