Overview: The Human Cost
Immediately after liberation, 5,772 civilian hostages and POWs in Iraq were returned to Kuwait, but 605 Kuwaitis remained missing.
Some went missing during the occupation after arrest (as early as August 1990 and in the months following) and some during the retreat (as late as February 1991).
Saddam Hussein claimed all Kuwaiti hostages had been released in March 1991 and he denied knowledge of the existence of any other missing persons.
After the Allied invasion of Iraq had ousted Saddam and his regime, mass graves began to be discovered all over Iraq. They contained the bodies of many of the missing Kuwaitis and of thousands of other executed victims of the Iraqi government's long reign of terror.
It is also possible that Kuwaitis disappeared from various suburban buildings that had been turned into torture centers.
At least two secretly buried bodies were found in Kuwait.
So far, the remains of 237 Kuwaitis have been unearthed and, after identification via DNA analysis, returned to their families for proper burial. They had been executed with gunshots to the back of the head, presumably in February-March 1991.
None of the 605 missing people has been found alive and all who remain missing have been declared legally dead. Most of the missing, both those found and those yet to be found, were civilians.
Search for the 368 people still missing continues, but, as time passes, hope for their discovery diminishes.
Their names have not been published.