Dozens of children brought flowers to Saddam Hussein's tomb in the village of Ouja to mark what would have been his 71st birthday, an eyewitness said Monday.

Followers also recited verses from Quran at the burial place, an ornate building with a marble floor he built for religious events in this Tigris River village where he was born.

Children also sang songs and danced in a ceremony held in memory of Saddam, said the witness who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisals.

In the nearby town of Tikrit, a banner on the wall of a mosque read: "Today is your birthday president."

Saddam was hanged in December 2006 for crimes against humanity. During his reign, April 28 was marked by official celebration and enforced adulation of the authoritarian leader.