As Nigerians and the world try to come to terms with the shocking revelation of how the Kaduna state government and the Nigerian Army buried 347 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) secretly, global watchdog, Amnesty International (AI), has asked the Nigerian army to “come out clean” on its role in the mass murders.
AI in a statement issued on Tuesday, described the disclosure as disturbing, demanding forensic investigation.
Amnesty International said it has been conducting research on the Zaria killings, and that a comprehensive report will be published “in the near future”.
“Revelations of the slaughter and secret burial of 347 members of a Shi’ite religious group in mass graves by the Nigerian army must be urgently investigated,” read the statement signed by MK Ibrahim, AI’s country director in Nigeria.
“Anyone suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes must be brought to trial. The horrific revelation that hundreds of Shi’ites were gunned down and dumped in mass graves is an important first step to bringing all those suspected of criminal responsibility for this atrocity to trial
“The acknowledgment of the extrajudicial killings, which took place between 12-14 December 2015 in Zaria, were made by a Kaduna government official at a public hearing of the judicial commission of inquiry and echoes Amnesty International’s own findings.
“The horrific revelation by the Kaduna State government that hundreds of Shi’ites were gunned down and dumped in mass graves is an important first step to bringing all those suspected of criminal responsibility for this atrocity to trial.
“It is now imperative that the mass grave sites are protected in order that a full independent forensic investigation can begin. The bodies must be exhumed and Nigerian authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of those held in unacknowledged detention and either charge or release them.”
Director General of Kaduna state director-general of Interfaith agency, Namadi Musa, had told the judicial commission looking into the Army-Shi’ite clash, that he spent five hours alongside the army conducting mass burial for 347 victims mainly Shi’ites.