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Al-Zakyzaky: Group Says Killing Is Brutal, Barbaric, Lawless

Reactions have been pouring on the deadly clash Saturday, between the soldiers and Shiite members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, in Zaria, Kaduna State, North West, Nigeria.

Many of the Movement members of the organization were allegedly killed, when army opened fire on them, while holding a peaceful procession on the streets of Zaria

A Non-Governmental organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in its reaction Monday condemned the massacre and denounced the well-known “belligerent posture of the Nigerian military towards unarmed civilians as manifested” in the weekend killing.

“It is reckless, lawless and barbaric. It is wanton exhibition of lack of respect for human life and an open infringement on Allah-given fundamental human rights of defenceless Nigerians. It is impunity of the highest order.

“We reject the army’s claim of reacting to an attempt by the group to assassinate the life of the Chief of General Staff. It is laughable, ridiculous and unacceptable. It is an infantile after-thought, a cock and bull story to which only the marines will listen” MURIC retorted.

The group defended that the Movement recorded no violence during its annual processions, saying on the contrary, the Nigerian Army seemed to have marked the group for elimination as manifested in its “unprovoked attack on the group in July last year (2014) which claimed the lives of three of Shaykh Al-Zakzaky’s sons as well as more than thirty other members of the group”.

MURIC agued: “The army’s claim that the procession blocked the access road appears more plausible but it could only have slowed down the movement of traffic and does not warrant a massacre of this proportion. In comparison, the disruption of traffic movement caused by the Islamic organization in Zaria is a child’s play when considered against the background of the notorious blockade and heavy traffic caused by the Redeemed Church on Lagos-Ibadan expressway which causes untold suffering to thousands of travelers.

“Thousands of commuters and road users are known to have slept on the road as a result of the traffic congestion caused by the church on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Many programmes have failed because of the holdup. Weddings have been truncated as either the bride or the groom (or both) were held up in the traffic conundrum. Hundreds of motorists have been forced to turn round and return to their destinations for the same reason”. Giving the Saturday bloody encounter, MURIC stressed it “can see different strokes for different folks”.

The group asked: “is it not an open secret that Al-Zakyzaky’s members hold their procession once annually or at least during their festivals? Is it also not well known that apart from some of its special programmes, the Redeemed Church programmes come up at least once every month (every first Friday of the month)?”

While grousing about the killing, MURIC in a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, demanded that the incident must not go uninvestigated and culprits unpunished and Heads must roll in the military for the latest extra-judicial killing, so as to safe the public from military rascality in future.

“We are not in the days of military rule. The Nigerian Army must be subjected to the rule of law. It is high time Nigerians were told who is in control: General Muhammadu Buhari or the military?” the group said.

“The latest trigger-happiness in the Nigerian army is capable of repeating history. We do not want a situation whereby members of Al-Zakyzaky’s organization who have hitherto been peaceful will become radicalized and militarized. The only way to ensure that this does not happen is to punish those who gave the order for the massacre. We therefore submit a case of use of excessive force on unarmed civilians against the Nigerian Army.

“Without prejudice to the army’s highhandedness in this matter, Al-Zakyzaky’s followers should organize their rallies with civility. They should engage the services of traffic policemen and arrange their members in a thin line of two in a row” MURIC directed.

This it stated was against the background of its investigation which revealed that the Emir of Zaria, Alhaji Shehu Idris once changed his route due to the heavy traffic caused by the organization’s long procession, so also was the former Governor Mukhtar Yero. Akintola therefore appealed to the leaders of Zazzau Emirate to dialogue with Shaykh Al-Zakzaky with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.

MURIC also called on the National Assembly (NASS) to quickly wade into the matter, to probe the killings and to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion, including demand for adequate compensation for the families of those murdered by the army.

The organization said it was worry, as the information reaching him indicated that the leader of the movement Shayky Al-Zakyzaky’s whereabout is unknown. Similarly, it expressed concern on allegation that Al-Zakyzaky has been arrested by the Military. Still, MURIC demanded that he should be prosecuted instead of prolonged detention, as law provides for maximum of 48 hours.

It also requested that the Nigerian Human Rights Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding this gruesome massacre and called on the international community to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities and the military to check the latter’s “aggressiveness, lawlessness and criminal propensity”.


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