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Victims buried alive during Zaria massacre by army

21 April 2016, 20:24

Lagos – Amnesty International said it had unearthed damning evidence of severe human rights violations against the military in Zaria.

In a blood-curdling report released on Thursday, the international rights group claims mass slaughter of hundreds of victims, including children.

Amnesty said evidence gathered on the ground revealed how the Nigerian military burned and buried people alive, razed buildings and dumped victims’ bodies in mass graves.

The report, Unearthing the truth: Unlawful killings and mass cover-up in Zaria” contains eyewitness testimony of large-scale unlawful killings by the military and exposes a crude attempt by the authorities to destroy and conceal evidence, said the organisation.

The clashes between the military and Shia Muslim community of Zaria in Kaduna State took place from December 12.

“The true horror of what happened over those two days in Zaria is only now coming to light,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

“Bodies were left littered in the streets and piled outside the mortuary.

Also read: Army accused of defiling Shi'ite women during Zaria massacre 

Some of the injured were burned alive.”

More than 350 people are believed to have been unlawfully killed by the military in Zaria following a confrontation between members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and soldiers.

IMN supporters - some armed with batons, knives, and machetes - had refused to clear the road near their headquarters, the Hussainiyya, for a military convoy to pass.

The army has claimed that IMN supporters attacked the convoy in an attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

IMN members deny this.

Following an initial confrontation the military surrounded other locations where IMN supporters had gathered, notably at the residential compound of IMN leader Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky.

Some people were killed as a result of indiscriminate fire. Others appeared to have been deliberately targeted.

Amnesty said all available information indicates that the deaths of protestors were the consequence of excessive, and arguably, unnecessary use of force.

“It is clear that the military not only used unlawful and excessive force against men, women and children, unlawfully killing hundreds, but then made considerable efforts to try to cover-up these crimes,” said Belay.

Amnesty has previously accused the military of human rights violations in the fight against the Boko Haram but these have been denied.



- CAJ News


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