Calls for investigation into alleged 'massacre' in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria - Human rights advocates have called for an investigation following the Nigerian army's raid on a Shiite sect in which hundreds of people were reportedly killed.

See Full Article

Details of the weekend violence in Zaria have been slow to emerge, with the three attacked areas of the northern town on lockdown as late as Tuesday, with no one allowed to enter or leave.

Amnesty International said in a statement late Tuesday that the shooting of members of the Shiite group in Zaria "must be urgently investigated ... and anyone found responsible for unlawful killings must be brought to justice."

"Whilst the final death toll is unclear, there is no doubt of that there has been a substantial loss of life at the hands of the military," said M.K. Ibrahim, director of Amnesty International, Nigeria.

The bloodshed was yet another blow to Africa's most populous nation, already beset by a 6-year-old insurgency waged by Boko Haram, a violent Islamic group which is at odds with the Shiites and others who oppose its extremist views.

Spokesman Ibrahim Musa of the Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria said soldiers on Monday carried away about 200 bodies from around the home of the head of the sect, Ibraheem Zakzaky - who was himself badly wounded and whose whereabouts have not been disclosed by the authorities - and hundreds more corpses were in the mortuary. Human rights activists said hundreds of people, perhaps as many as 1,000, were killed.

The army said troops attacked sites in Zaria after 500 Shiites blocked the convoy of Nigeria's army chief, and tried to kill him on Saturday. A report from the military police said some Shiites were crawling through tall grass toward Gen. Tukur Buratai's vehicle "with the intent to attack the vehicle with (a) petrol bomb" while others "suddenly resorted to firing gunshots from the direction of the mosque."

In a statement Monday, the army said there was "loss of lives as a result of the Shiite group members blocking roads and not allowing other passers-by to go about their lawful businesses and activities," and added that "as soon as order is restored ... the police will conduct an enquiry and the public will be informed."

Chidi Odinkalu of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission called the attacks "a massacre." The army said it has asked the rights commission to investigate the alleged assassination attempt on the army chief.

Odinkalu told The Associated Press that Zakzaky suffered four bullet wounds and that one of the sect leader's wives was killed in raids that began Saturday and ended Monday morning. He was quoting the family doctor. Two of Zakzaky's sons also were killed and one was wounded, according to Musa.

Odinkalu and other human rights activists said there are hundreds of bodies at the mortuary of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital on the outskirts of Zaria.

"Citizens must ask, who ordered this carnage?" Odinkalu tweeted.

Outraged Nigerians took to social media to condemn "trigger-happy troops" and "extra-judicial killings."

Iran, seen as the guardian of the Shiite Muslim faith, condemned the killings.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Iran state TV said Rouhani told Buhari he expects the Nigerian government to compensate families of the dead and injured victims.

Hundreds of Shiites protested in front of the Nigerian embassies in the Iranian and Indian capitals on Tuesday.

Nigeria's Shiites, a movement of millions started 37 years ago by Zakzaky, who dresses in the robes and turban of an Iranian ayatollah, often have clashed with police and other security forces over their unlawful blocking of major roads to hold religious processions.

Nigeria's military is infamous for its excesses. In 2009, Nigerian armed forces attacked Boko Haram's headquarters and killed about 700 people, including its leader.

The Shiites two weeks ago suffered a suicide bombing in a procession that killed 22 people. Boko Haram, a Salafist group, claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened to "wipe out" the Shiites opposed to its radical vision of Islam.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Manitoba minister won't say whether ban on night hunting is on the table

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government refused to say Tuesday whether it will try to ban indigenous hunting at night -- a move that would appease municipal leaders and anger indigenous groups. Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox emerged from a 40-minute meeting with reeves from several communities in western Manitoba to say the government plans to bring both sides to the table in the near future and try to work out an agreement. Source
  • ThyssenKrupp fined $375,000 after man's elevator injury

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- An unapologetic ThyssenKrupp Canada was fined $375,000 on Tuesday, as the prosecution had urged, for a potentially fatal breach of elevator safety laws in which a man was injured. In passing sentence, Ontario court Judge Mindy Avrich-Skapinker said the Crown's request for the "really low" fine -- well short of the maximum $2 million -- had caught her off guard. Source
  • Senior military officer not suspended due to national security concerns: Sajjan

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has ruled out national security concerns following the sudden suspension last week of the military's second-highest-ranking officer. Government and military officials have been tight-lipped since Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was abruptly stripped of his responsibilities on Jan. Source
  • All 6 dead in helicopter crash in central Italy

    World News CTV News
    CAMPO FELICE, Italy -- A helicopter ferrying an injured skier off the slopes slammed into a mountainside in central Italy Tuesday, killing all six people aboard in a new tragedy to hit a region already hobbled by a series of earthquakes, paralyzing snowfall and a deadly avalanche. Source
  • Russian models face Dubai hotel ban over raunchy pics

    World News Toronto Sun
    Scantily clad Russian models are facing a ban from a Dubai hotel over revealing selfies. The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is taking exception to the naughty pics, which were taken in $1,500-a-night suites and splashed onto Instagram. Source
  • Man, 70, robbed bank to get away from wife

    World News Toronto Sun
    “Bet she didn’t tell you why her husband went there [jail]?” “How come?” “To get away from Jeannie!” -- Henry Hill explains to his wife a criminal confederate’s motives for going to prison in GoodFellas. Taking a page from Goodfellas, Lawrence Ripple wanted to get away from his wife too. Source
  • Vlogger Jenny McDermott on ‘kill all men and male babies’ video: just kidding...

    World News Toronto Sun
    An American video blogger who posted a video calling for followers to “kill all men” claims she was “joking” following a social media firestorm. Jenny McDermott posted the outrageous video on her YouTube channel last July but it’s resurfaced after another YouTube user uploaded an edited version of her video -- and people are angrier than ever. Source
  • Ex-porn star Jameson claims Bill Maher’s a ‘p---y grabber’

    World News Toronto Sun
    Former porn queen Jenna Jameson is slamming liberal stalwart Bill Maher, saying the talk show host “fits right in with us ‘p---- grabbers'”. Jameson – star of such sexxx-rated fare as Janine Loves Jenna, Rump Rangers and Saturday Night Beaver – took exception to Maher criticizing President Donald Trump. Source
  • N.B. police raid illegal marijuana stores

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Police raided six medical marijuana dispensaries in the Saint John area today, saying they know federal legal changes are coming but the New Brunswick stores are operating illegally for now. Six stores were raided by officers from the city police and nearby forces. Source
  • Rejecting Keystone XL chance for Trudeau to stand up to Trump: Mulcair

    Canada News CBC News
    NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline project would be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first opportunity to stand up to newly minted U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump has moved to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines —projects shot down by the previous U.S. Source