Nigerian military killed dozens of Shia Muslims

Aug 02, 2016, 6:53 AM EDT
(Source: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet/flickr)
(Source: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet/flickr)

According to an inquiry commission report, the Nigerian army killed 347 Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna state late last year. The 193-page report accused the Nigerian army of using “excessive force” on Shia worshippers when they tried to obstruct the convoy of country’s chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai on December 12. Echoing the conclusions of an earlier Amnesty International report, the commission called on the authorities to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings.

The judicial inquiry, commissioned by the Kaduna state government, also found that the unrest resulted in heavy damage to property, reports International Business Times. The findings of the report are based on evidence gathered after analyzing thousands of letters, emails and testimonies by 87 witnesses.

The military had been denying the allegations, saying that it acted according to the rules of engagement after the crowd tried to assassinate Buratai, writes Al Jazeera. The commission also blamed Shia leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky for failing to rein in his followers during the outbreak of the conflict.

Amid public outcry over human rights violations by the Nigerian army, the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, has earlier assured the international community of taking strong action against the perpetrators.