Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll By Ahmed Ali

Dandelion Salad

Inter Press Service
By Ahmed Ali*
July 17, 2007

BAQUBA, Jul 17 (IPS) – The largest morgue in Diyala province is overflowing daily. Officials told IPS they have had to dig mass graves to dispose of bodies.

More and more bodies of victims of the ongoing violence are being found every day in Baquba, capital city of the province, 50km northeast of Baghdad.

“The morgue receives an average of four or five bodies everyday,” Nima Jima’a, a morgue official, told IPS. “Many more are dropped in rivers and farms — or it is sometimes the case they are buried by their killers for other reasons. The number we record here is only a fraction of those killed.”

Ambulances, now able to move again after weeks of restrictions, have been removing bodies of victims from the current fighting. But they have also found skulls and bones, evidence of other killings long ago.

Dealing with these remains is becoming difficult. Like the rest of the city, the morgue suffers from continuing lack of electricity. Over the last two weeks, two of its refrigerators have been shut down. The smell of decomposing bodies hits visitors 100 metres away.

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