Army General, Others to be Prosecuted for Zaria Massacre
A judicial commission set up to look into the massacre of not less than 347 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has recommended that Major General Adeniyi Oyebade be prosecuted for ordering the attack on the Shi’a group.
The General, along with other senior officers, was indicted by the committee set up by the Kaduna State government after he authorized the killings.
Though the army is said to have claimed responsibility for the death of only 7 Shiites who they claim formed a roadblock and attempted to assassinate army chief, Tukur Buratai, Premium Times reports that evidence showed that at least 347 bodies were handed over by the army for a secret mass burial.
The commission decried the lack of cooperation from the military to ascertain the number of fatalities but confirmed the death of 349 people including a soldier. It recommends that Major Gen. Oyebade and other yet-to-be-disclosed officers who participated in the operation “should be brought to trial before a court of competent jurisdiction”.
The report also noted that the refusal of the Shi’a group, IMN, to testify during its sittings, did not help in confirming the actual number of casualties.
“Had IMN submitted a memo and appeared before the commission, it might have been able to shed light on the number of their members who might have lost their lives in the clashes.”
The commission also recommended that the members of the IMN culpable in the death of an army officer, Dan Yakubu, a corporal, should be prosecuted.
The verdict, however, was that the force deployed by the army against the Shi’ites was “disproportionate”.
“The Nigerian Army should intensify efforts in ensuring compliance with the rules of engagement and other legal standards in cordon and search operations at all times.”
The report also recommended that soldiers should never be deployed against civilians and that the police should be better equipped for adequate response to public disturbances.
The massacre of members of the Shi’a Islamic movement, which took place between December 12 and 14 in Zaria, drew outrage from every quarter with several investigative reports indicting government troops for the attack.
Members of IMN, on Friday, took to the Zaria-Kaduna expressway to protest Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s prolonged detention. Zakzaky, leader of the Shi’a group, has been in custody since December 2015.
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