Within a day after his execution on the first day of Eid ul-Adha on December 30, 2006, the mortal remains of the dethroned Iraqi president Saddam Hussein were buried in a tomb in his birthplace, Al-Awja (near Tikrit), about 95 miles north of the capital city of Baghdad.
Reports say that then-US president George W Bush had personally authorized the immediate transfer of the slain leader’s body on an American military helicopter from Baghdad to the northern city of Tikrit.
Sheikh Manaf Ali al-Nida, a leader of the Albu Nasser tribe to which Saddam's clan belongs, held on to a letter his family signed when they received the body, agreeing that Saddam be buried without delay. The place turned into a richly-adorned pilgrimage site to which supporters and groups of local school children would flock on his birthday, April 28, every year.
However, in March 2015, the mausoleum where the grave of Saddam lies was partially destroyed in an Iraqi air strike after the Daesh group, the so-called Islamic State (IS), posted snipers on its roof. This attacked fuelled a series of theories on the mortal remains of Saddam.
Some believe that hours before the air strike on the mausoleum, a Sunni tribal group shifted his body to a secret location, fearful of what may happen. Shaikh Nida was not there to witness the blast — but he is convinced that Saddam's tomb was "opened and blown up". On the other hand, one of his fighters speculated that Saddam's exiled daughter Hala had flown in on a private plane and whisked her father's body away to Jordan. Jaafar al-Gharawi, the Hashed's security chief, argue that the body is still there.
Today, visitors need special authorization to enter, the site lies in ruins, and Sheikh Nida has been forced to leave the village and seek refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Amidst all these confusions, some of the ardent fans of Saddam Hussein believe that he’s still alive. According to them it was one of Saddam’s body doubles who was hanged.
Indians, Pakistanis keep exhuming the body!
On the other hand, thousands of miles away, in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh people keep spreading “miraculous” rumours about Saddam’s body through social media in general and WhatsApp in particular.
For past few days a morphed image of the smiling face of Saddam has been going viral on WhatsApp groups in these countries. The image also bears a caption: “Saddam’s body was exhumed today. Even 12 years after his burial the body was in same condition. People were surprised to see his smiling face.” Ironically, similar messages had gone viral in this part of the world in April 2017 and Apirl 2016 too!
Iraqis don’t know where is Saddam’s body, but Indians exhume it every year!