Wednesday, December 23, 2015 7:48 am
Human Rights Watch says Nigerian soldiers fired on unarmed Shiite children with no provocation before unjustified raids that killed hundreds of members of the minorityIslamic sect.
The charges come as the guardian of Nigeria’s Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto, warned the government against actions that could radicalize some in a country that has lost 20,000 lives to the Boko Haram Islamic uprising.
A Human Rights Watch report Wednesday doubts the Nigerian military’s version that raids on Shiites in northern Zaria town followed an attempted assassination of the army chief.
The New York-based group says the army’s version “just doesn’t stack up.”
As many as 1,000 people may have been killed over Dec. 12-14.
The group’s leader, Iran-influenced Ibraheem Zakzaky, was wounded and is among scores detained.
HRW said the killing of hundreds of Shia Muslim members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), by Nigerian soldiers over three days were unjustified.
“The Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the government should be sufficiently independent and impartial to hold those responsible to account”, the report said.
Please read the full report by HRW:
The Events at Zaria
Witnesses who were at the Hussainniyah mosque and religious center said that dozens of soldiers took up position at the mosque at around midday on December 12, 2015, at least an hour before the army chief of staff was due to pass by. Video footage shot by sect members and posted on YouTube appears to show soldiers calmly taking up positions around the mosque before the shootings began.
Multiple witnesses interviewed separately by Human Rights Watch at different locations in Kaduna and Zaria, on December 17 and 18, said that without any provocation, the soldiers fired on people coming out of the mosque, initially killing an estimated five people and injuring others, including children attending classes at the center.