Nigeria Shia killings: Army should be prosecuted

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Shia Muslims protesting

Shia Muslims protesting

A judicial inquiry has concluded that Nigerian troops should be prosecuted for the killing of 349 Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria last year.

The report corroborates findings by human rights organisations on the use of “excessive force” by the army.

A Nigerian army spokesman said the report was being studied.

The military previously blamed the unrest on the Shia sect, which it accused of trying to assassinate army chief Gen Tukur Buratai.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) denies those allegations.

The commission has recommended steps to identify and arrest the soldiers.

The IMN boycotted the commission of inquiry because it said it was denied access to Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, its leader who is still being held by police.

The commission also blamed the Shia leader for failing to control his followers.

Initially, the military told the BBC that it had killed no-one in Zaria, leading to accusations of a cover-up.

But this official inquiry does not pull any punches. The inquiry states the army used “excessive force” killing hundreds of members of a Shia organisation.

One military source said the “army intended to teach the Shia a lesson” after members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria stopped the convoy of the army’s chief of staff in Zaria last December.

The big question is how the government will now respond to the inquiry’s findings.

Will President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, seek to root out human rights violations in the army? Or will he do nothing, allowing a culture of impunity to reign?

The inquiry’s findings will also raise uncomfortable questions for the US and British armies who provide training and assistance to the Nigerian military in their fight against Boko Haram.

The report said 349 people, including one soldier, were killed in the clashes and property worth thousands of dollars destroyed.

“Out of the said 349 dead persons, …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper