Nigerian activists are accusing the government of massacring hundreds of Shia Muslims in Zaria, a city in Nigeria’s north, over the course of three days from December 13 to December 16.
The protesters were condemning the mass killings over the weekend and early on Monday in the ancient Muslim university town of Zaria, and demanding the military release their leader, Ibraheem Zakzaky.
The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and his convoy wound up trapped in the gridlock.
Witness Ojo Momodu told the Associated Press that the Shiites had barricaded the road with burning tires as the army chief approached.
The clash occurred during an argument between the group and soldiers during attempt to remove roadblocks mounted by the group on the Sabon Gari-Samaru road.
The military raids on Zakzaky’s dwelling and religious centres in two other places in Zaria started hours after.
The latest protests were triggered by a photo that went viral on social media, purportedly showing him sitting on the ground with a bloodied face.
The IMN alleges that the military killed hundreds of its members and destroyed a religious shrine and the sheikh’s home during the raid. Odinkalu was quoting the family doctor.
He said President Buhari had refused to speak on the matter, despite the fact that more than 1,000 of its members were killed in Zaria, while over 300 were wounded and several others detained.
“Citizens must ask, who ordered this carnage?”
The sect said Zakzaky’s wife, Zeenat, was among the dead but the military said she and Zakzaky were in protective custody.
Muslims students carry placards and shout slogans against the Nigerian government’s alleged massacre of Shiite Muslims.
Iran, a predominantly Shiite Muslim country has also expressed its outrage at the attacks with Iranian foreign ministry summoning Nigeria’s charge d’affaires for urgent talks in Tehran, the Irani capital.
However, the Shiite group the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) stated that their members were conducting a peaceful protest when they were fired on by Nigerian troops.
The source also said three persons were feared dead. The military stated it acted after Shiites tried to assassinate Nigeria’s army chief.
The confrontation is yet another security headache for Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, who took power in May promising to improve security in northern Nigeria. Some claim Boko Haram was behind the violence, while Zakzaky has refuted this allegation. The group then re-emerged stronger and more violent in 2011. The Sunni extremist group Boko Haram began seriously escalating its militant activities in 2009 as a result of clashes with the Nigerian military. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. “Under such conditions that terrorism is a serious threat against many Muslim countries’ security the Muslims need to unite and not permit trivial differences of opinion to lead to acute disputes, since safeguarding the Muslims’ lives is our major and public responsibility”, he reportedly said.
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