The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in 2003 was a symbolic indication of the end of the late dictator’s 24-year reign.
But the bronze statue was immediately pulled to pieces with many wanting a part of the iconic figure.
One of the remaining pieces is still attracting global attention; the section depicting Saddam’s buttock.
A former paratrooper, who served in the 1990-91 Gulf War, was in Baghdad’s Firdous Square as a photojournalist the day after the statue fell.
Nigel Ely, 53, “introduced himself as an ex-soldier to U.S. marines guarding the relic and asked if he could take a piece of it,” the BBC reported Tuesday.
“They said ‘Yea, buddy’ and I hacked off a piece with the help of the U.S. marines,” he told the BBC.
Ely, using a sledgehammer and chisel, ended up with a 2 foot part of the effigy depicting the buttock.
Similarly, the statue’s head was cut off by crowds at the scene.
Ely has since turned the statue’s section into war relic art.
The former paratrooper now hopes to seal a deal with Iraqi authorities and sell it to “raise money for military charities and groups, including Birmingham’s Royal Centre for Defense Medicine which treats wounded soldiers,” the BBC reported.
“But the relic failed to meet its reserve of £250,000 at a Derby auction in October, 2011,” the report added.