Saddam Hussein's Body Moved in Secret
It's in a 'safer place,' says Sunni tribal leader
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2014 4:07 AM CDT
In this Dec. 8, 2011 photo, people visit the tomb of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

(Newser) – After being hanged in 2006, Saddam Hussein was buried some 95 miles north of Baghdad, in his birthplace of Awja. His body is no longer there: A member of his Sunni tribe tells Reuters they whisked his remains out of the family plot eight months ago, amid concerns that Shiite militias—stationed near the grave for the purpose of battling the Islamic State—would desecrate it. And as Reuters reports, "the caution paid off": The AP on Tuesday reported that Saddam's tomb was damaged in clashes between Islamic State militants and government soldiers; photos of the former leader were destroyed, and a police official says the area was set ablaze.

A tribal leader wouldn't say where the body was taken beyond calling it a "safer place." "There were four of us that took up this mission," he said. "We could not move the bodies of Saddam's sons. We are afraid someone will desecrate those graves," and may have already done so; he says he's looking into reports that Uday and Qusay's graves were violated. Saddam's body was formerly interred in the floor of the octagonal, domed building he had constructed in the 1980s.