President Buhari-led government has not held anyone responsible for the killing of over 300 Shiites members in Zaria – United States

Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai with President Muhammadu Buhari

The United States in a 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Nigeria released by the United States Department of State accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of not taking actions against military officials that killed over 300 Shiites in 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State.

The report noted that the panel of inquiry setup by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna on the gruesome killing of the Shiites in Zaria, Kaduna, led to the proscription of Shiites, but the aspect of the report indicting the military had not yet been implemented.

Over 300 members of the IMN were killed in Zaria, Kaduna State, in 2015 when the Shiites who were on religious procession prevented the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, from passing.

The country was at the heights of its war against insurgency at the time when the unfortunate incident occurred.

The clash between the army operatives and the members of the IMN led to the arrest and detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenab, has remained in detention since December 2015 despite repeated court orders for his release. The President Buhari led government had however noted that it is not responsible for his continued incarceration.

Many have been killed following protests by his followers demanding for his release from custody. The last protest which turned violent as usually led to the death of a police officer and an NYSC corp member serving with Channels TV in Abuja.

The report further highlighted the high rate of human rights abuse perpetrated by security operatives against rights groups (the Indigenous People of Biafra – IPOB), the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (aka Shiites), and journalists.

“As of September (2019) there were no reports of the Federal Government further investigating or holding individuals accountable for the 2015 killing and subsequent mass burial of members of a Shia political organisation, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, and other civilians by Nigerian Army forces in Zaria, Kaduna State.

“A 2016 report by the government of Kaduna State included acceptance of the commission’s recommendation to investigate and prosecute allegations of excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Nigerian Army. As of September, there was no indication that authorities had held any members of the NA accountable for the events in Zaria,” the report stated.

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