Report on Zaria Massacre: Nigerian Army Killed, Buried 300 Shiites

A deadly raid by the Nigerian Army against the Shia Muslim sect less than two weeks ago was “wholly unjustified”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report wednesday, as accusations mounted over the incident in Zaria, Kaduna State.

In its report on the two-day raid, HRW accused the army of killing and quickly burying the bodies of at least 300 Shia Muslims from the Islamic Movement on Nigeria (IMN) sect in mass graves, also revealing that shots were fired at children.

Nigerian activists have estimated that up to 1,000 people were killed between December 12 and 13 when the incident took place.
The mass burials, carried out without family permission, make the exact toll hard to calculate.

“At best it was a brutal overreaction and at worst it was a planned attack on the minority Shia group,” HRW Africa director Daniel Bekele said.

The military was responding to what it claims was an assassination attempt by the sect against Army chief Gen. Tukur BurataI and has refutes the HRW account, though it has yet to release its own count.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, HRW said Nigerian troops attacked a mosque, a burial site and the home of IMN leader Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky. His wife and son are among the dead.

Sheikh Zakzaky is the founder of IMN, a movement that has an estimated 3 million followers in Nigeria and close ties to Iran. Zakzaky, who is is currently in custody, is a devoted follower of Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeini, even choosing to dress like an ayatollah.

News reports on what happened in Zaria seem to point to a disproportionate reaction by Nigerian troops.

Trouble began Saturday, when thousands of members of the Shia group, held a march in Zaria to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Buratai, and his convoy wound up trapped in the gridlock.

According to some accounts, a metal object was thrown at the general’s vehicle by someone in the crowd. Soldiers mistook the sound for gunshots and apparently thought it was part of an attempt to assassinate the general.

At any rate, soldiers in the convoy opened fire, killing a number of people.

The incident occurred just as President Muhammadu Buhari has been trying to end the Boko Haram in the Northeast Nigeria. Buhari has yet to release a public statement on the incident; a spokesman said the killings were a “military affair”.

247newsnaija.com.ng is your one-stop online news magazine blog. We report credible information as they happen. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get Latest Information.

Leave a Reply