A worrisome video uploaded on Youtube by the New York Times (NYT) has exposed how soldiers of Nigeria’s Elite Battallion, Abuja gruesomely massacred unarmed members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, who were marching during the annual religious procession (Arbaeen Pilgrimage) in Abuja in October, 2018.
The video showed how Nigerian troops turned the community event, which is also observed around the wolrd by Shia muslims, into “a massacre”.
Women and men, who participated in the procession were seen in the clip being brutally cut down by soldiers’ bullets.
It is understood that they were also demanding for the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, who have been held since three years by the Nigerian State, despite a court order for his release.
Recall that IMN had on November 4, 2018 released names of 34 bodies so far identified from the over 40 Shiite protesters allegedly killed by Nigerian soldiers within four days of clash with members of the group during protests in Abuja on October 27, 29 and 30.
The Nigerian Army had denied the massacre, saying its soldiers only acted in self-defence after protesters attacked them.
The army’s official death toll was six.
On November 2, 2018, the Nigerian Army attempted to justify the killing of the shiite members by tweeting a video of US President Donald Trump, saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones.
Nigeria’s defence spokesman John Agim had told AFP that the army posted the video in response to criticism that its security forces had acted unlawfully.
In any case, that tweet was eventually deleted following public outrage.
However, this latest video by the NYT now hangs a big question mark on that claim.
Recall that in December 2015, Nigerian soldiers also killed over 300 shiites members and left many wounded, including the group leader, Zakzaky during a similar confrontation in Zaria, Kaduna State.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is replete with extra judicial killings of protesters across Nigeria.
In 2016, Amnesty International (AI) indicted the Nigerian military with a video evidence of the massacre of over 150 pro Biafra activists in the eastern region of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian security forces, led by the military, embarked on a chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions and violence resulting in the deaths of at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protesters in the south east of the country, according to an investigation by Amnesty International published today.” AI wrote on its website.
“Analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eye witness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently shows that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds. It also finds evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day.” AI added.
Interestingly, recently, the Nigerian Army called for the closure of the Amnesty International offices in Nigeria, alleging that there is credible evidence the organisation is working hard to destabilize the country.
See however the NYT’s video below: