The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, claim that it lost 193 children and 23 pregnant women following a clash with Nigerian soldiers in the convoy of the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), in Zaria, Kaduna State, in December, 2015.
In an advertorial titled ‘Call for justice for the victims of Zaria massacre’ published on Friday, to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Day, the sect stated that the victims of the massacre which included ‘1,000 persons of all genders and ages,’ were given a secret mass burial at night by the army, allegedly assisted by the Governor Nasir El-Rufai-led Kaduna State Government.
The advertorial, signed by Prof. I.M. Mshelgaru on behalf of the sect, also stated that out of the adherents that were massacred, “193 were children and 23 pregnant women, while 23 families were completely wiped out of existence by the Nigerian military.”
The sect also decried the justification of the event of that day by the President Muhammadu Buhari, whom, it said, described the ‘pogrom’ as ‘small boys beating the chest of a general’, during a media parley.
The group also lamented that despite the findings by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government that 347 Shi’ites were killed by the military and secretly given a mass burial, the perpetrators of the crime had yet to be fished out and punished.
“We deemed it fit to restate our demand for justice even six years after the pogrom. In our records, more than 1,000 persons who went to Zaria on that fateful day, numerous of whom were also seen at the various scenes of the massacre, never returned to their respective houses.
“Consequently, and sadly, so many families lost at least three of their members while some families were completely wiped out.
“Corroboratively, we would like to mention yet again a few of those victims/families that were killed and whose identities were at least known within the communities they lived, viz:
“Three of Sheikh Zakzaky’s sons – Hammad Ibraheem, Ali Ibraheem and Humaid Ibraheem – were brutally killed right before their parents!
“Dr Mustapha Sa’id, the personal physician of Sheikh Zakzaky, was killed alongside his three energetic sons – Muhammad Mustapha, Ali Mustapha and Ruhullah Mustapha.
“Three sons of Kaduna-based engineer, Yahaya Gilima, were martyred during the massacre.
“Bukhari Jega was a PhD student of political science and a part-time lecturer at the University of Abuja. Bukhari, his wife, A’isha, their 16-month-old daughter, Batool, and two of his wife’s sisters were gunned down during the massacre.
“Four children of Dr Isah Gwantu, an academic in the Mass Communication Department, ABU, and Publisher of Education Monitor Newspaper, were also killed. They (the children) are Muhammad Waziri, Fatima Waziri, Hassan Waziri and Hussaini Waziri.
“Malam Abudllahi Abass Zaria was not only killed but his six children – Abdurrazaq, Abbas, Muhammad, Ahmad, Ibrahim and Jawad – were all killed by the Nigerian Army.
“The aforementioned is just a tip of the iceberg, excluding a teeming number of those injured at varying degrees, either from gunshot or burns,” the sect noted.
The sect also called for the prosecution of all those who played one role or the other in the massacre and its aftermath, and ‘the immediate and unconditional release of its members in various detention facilities, “as well as the release of the passports of both El-Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat, to enable them to proceed for medical treatment in any country of their choice where the requisite expertise and appropriate facilities exist.”
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