Iraq's Foreign Ministry declared “identifying” the remains of 32 Kuwaiti
prisoners who were found in a mass grave in southern Iraq months ago.
The ministry spokesperson, Ahmad al-Sahaf, said in a statement that the “Iraqi technical team tasked with the file of the missing Kuwaitis and prisoners was able, in cooperation with the Red Cross, to locate the mass grave in the province of Muthanna on March 6.” The grave contained 46 human corpses, he said, adding that preliminary DNA examinations revealed that 32 of them belonged to Kuwaitis who had been missing.
The ministry spokesperson also said in the statement that Iraq would cooperate with Kuwaiti authorities to transfer the remains to Kuwait and provide proper support for forthcoming tasks in the case. Sahaf affirmed that Iraq is seeking with utter concern to end ramifications of this humanitarian tragedy that involved Kuwaiti brothers in the beginning of the “invasion of their country in 1990 and determine the destiny of the missing and Kuwaiti prisoners.”
He was alluding to the Aug 2, 1990 invasion carried out by troops of the Iraqi ruler at the time, Saddam Hussein. Iraq will spare no effort in determining the fate of the other missing Kuwaitis and “what has been discovered recently depicts the continuation of the efforts that has led to information about the remains,” he said.
But Kuwaiti Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organizations Nasser Al-Hayyen said later on Friday that more examinations are required to determine the identity of the 32 bodies. “Knowing about the identities of the exhumed bodies needs further examinations,” Hayyen told KUNA, noting that Iraq recently sent to Kuwait results of the DNA tests it carried out on the these bodies. He pointed out that Kuwait has presented an official request to Iraq to receive the recovered bodies to carry out its own tests and compare the results with its DNA database of Kuwaiti POWs and missing people.
Recognizing the identities of the recovered bodies is the sole responsibility of Kuwait’s General Department of Criminal Evidence, which has the complete DNA database related to POWs and missing people, he clarified. He affirmed that once the identity of any body is known, their family would be notified.