Zaria Massacre: ​Shi’ite group releases own video, says attack by military “planned, deliberate”

Shi'ite procession  from Kaduna to Zaria
Shi'ite procession from Kaduna to Zaria

The Shi’ite group, led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, has stated that the December 12 and 13 attack on its members by soldiers of the Nigerian Army was deliberate and planned.

More than 300 members of the sect are believed to have been killed in the Zaria attack, which the army initially described as an assassination attempt on the Chief of Army Staff, Turkur Buratai, a General.

The military later released an edited video showing a group of angry youth with sticks and cutlasses arguing with some army brass over the right of way for the convoy of Mr Buratai.

Human Right Watch described the killing as a “terrible carnage” and “unjustifiable”.

Daniel Bekele, the African director of Human Rights Watch said: “The Nigerian military’s version of events does not stack up”.

The whereabout of the sect’s leader, Mr. Zakzaky, who was reportedly shot four times during the attack, is still unknown.

The Kaduna State government said it would set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the killing.

In an apparent move to counter the military’s narrative, the Shi’ite group posted a video on YouTube purportedly showing the attack.

The narrator of the 22:36-minute edited video, which is delivered in Hausa but subtitled in English, said the attack on the sect was unprovoked.

He said the sect members were preparing for the change of the Maulud flag when they saw soldiers stationing themselves near a NNPC filling station directly opposite the sect’s enclave, Husainiyya, and dropping boxes of ammunition.

The narrator explained that the military lied when it claimed that Mr. Buratai’s convoy was denied the right of way. He said in the past, soldiers and military convoys passed through their processions and gatherings unhindered.

He said the sect only approached Mr. Buratai’s convoy to tell the soldiers to move further away with their weapon to avoid an occurrence of the 2014 incident where a traffic argument with a group of soldiers led to the killing of 34 members of the sect, among them three sons of Mr Zakzaky.

“We asked them to move forward with their weapons due to the 2014 incident where 34 members were killed,” the narrator said.

The narrator claimed instead soldiers spread themselves out around the nearby polo ground encircling the Husainiyya as if in a war front. The narrator alleged that it was at the point of trying to placate the soldiers that the soldiers started firing on them.

PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the footage which was apparently shot with a mobile phone, but soldiers with assault rifles could be clearly seen encircling the Husainiyya and taking shooting positions.

Sounds of intermittent gunfire could be heard as the sect members laid on their stomachs and other hid behind trees to avoid being hit by bullets. Some of the youth could be heard screaming Allahu Akbar, Arabic for God is great.

The narrator explained that the Shi’ite members ran to the Husainiyya for refuge from bullets.

The footage later showed soldiers dragging the bodies of those shot into a truck. The narrator claimed the soldiers took the bodies away.

The footage later switched to an audio clip of a telephone interview in Hausa purportedly on Radio Iran between a broadcaster and a man who claimed to be among the soldiers who took part in the operation on the day.

The radio station said they would not reveal the name of the soldier for security reasons.

The caller, who claimed to have shot over 500 bullet in the air during the operation, said the army lied by blaming the clash on argument over right of way. His statement was subtitled in near broken English:

“I’m among those who carried out the operation. I want to lay an introduction before I say what I want to say. What I know, every army is using the rule of engagement. I want to correct what somebody has said this is why I want to comment.

“Like what the Emir of Kano said that Nigeria was established on ahul sunna wal jama’a, is that not? We army defend Nigeria and in Nigeria there are Izala, Shi’a and Christians, in the Nigerian Army, to say the fact. And what is happening, our leaders are disgracing us by saying our leader was denied a road. It is not that it may cause to underrate our security.

“It can’t be possible even for the Emir of Zazzau (another name for Zaria) to follow a road without knowing what is happening on the road talk less of our leader in General to have… This is not true. Our stand is more than that.

“As he himself, as Malam voice was heard saying there are some of us chanting: “Ya Husain Ya Husain” I’m one of them.

“The fact about this is that it was a plan. Planned since.

“If I die Allah will charge. Neither Buhari nor Buratai will protect me. It is Allah that will charge me on what I have accounted. And remaining on what we have done. I’m seeking the forgiveness of Allah. As a matter of fact, this work is do or die. Because of that by the time we came an order was given, then an order was given that everybody should go out. The fact Allah is my witness. I shot in the air. I shot nobody. Allah is my witness, no Shi’ite blood on me,” he said.

When asked by the broadcaster if there are other soldiers like him who do not agree with what the army said happened in Zaria, the man responded in the affirmative.

“What has encouraged me was that there was somebody at Farfaru who wrote on Facebook. It is not only me. I myself I know I shot nobody. 500 bullets in the air, Allah is my witness. I shot nobody. And the weapons that were used, the fact that we have been in Maiduguri, we have been there the weapons have not been used in Maiduguri. What I’m saying is if you come to a place as said by the emir of Kano, there is a time for whip there is time for teargas, there is time for bullet and there is time for bomb. We seek people’s forgiveness especially me,” he said.

The video subsequently showed soldiers matching beside an armoured vehicle and spreading out in military formations around the Husainiyya. Many of them were seen lying flat on their stomach with their guns pointed toward the Hussainiyya.

The video also showed some youth inside the Hussainiyya hiding behind the pillar of the fence while voices were here screaming Allahu Akbar.

The entire area was deserted. No civilian could be seen inside or around a NNPC filling station opposite the Husainiyya. Motorcycles laid abandoned on the roadside.

On the orders of a man that appeared like a senior military officer, some soldiers went down on one knee while others laid on their stomach assuming shooting positions.

The soldiers surrounded the area in a manner that suggested they didn’t want any of those hiding inside the Hussainiyya to leave.

Watch video:

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  • Mr X

    500 bullets??????????????, cock and bull story.

    • Chuks007

      6 magazines. One press, magazine empties in 30 secs. 467 bullets done. Reload

  • Contact Point

    Believe the video to your own peril. With those guys walking around and watching the rehearsal of the military guys? Nonsense. The military should always be active.

    • Standing Emperor

      Yet you believed the military’s video, and to your peril.

    • Chuks007

      Let’s buy them more bullets to kill all the 10 million Shia.

    • primus

      This video is nonsense. I didn’t even hear a shot fired or 1 person killed in this rubbish video of propaganda. If the military really want to raid the area as they claimed in the video, does the guy doing the recording think he’ll be spared?

  • Oh!

    What is this shiite movement of Nigeria? EVen Suuni? WHat is that?
    Are this things in the Quran? Hadith?
    In the prayer all of you say 5 times a day, you declare that their is no God but Allah and Prophet Mohammed (pboh) is his messenger. Yet you come with this Suuni and Shia nonsense.

    The only difference between the two of you is who has authority after the death of the prophet. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. ……and we have not even started with the clowns in Nigeria yet.

    Both Christians and Muslims in sub-saharan Africa killing each other because of something that does not concern them.
    Ask yourselves why your own God can not speak your language and requires you to pray in latin or Arabic.
    You are all insane and the sooner all of you religious fanatics in the world off each other, the better for the rest of the world.

    • Chuks007

      Well said. Madness. Both Sunni and Shia are not in Quran. Don’t mind them. And now the army is helping conduct a pogrom of Shia.

    • adeade

      Ask your friend Babakeu for more lessons on this topic..

  • primus

    nonsense

  • Chuks007

    I have never seen something so scary. So what is Nigeria now? The army can just ambush and masscre people anywhere? God help the next Uni students that protest in this country

  • Alamu Ogboriefon

    God willing, the mystery behind this massacre shall be unraveled. And the culprits will face the music.

  • Bunduma Mohammed

    There is no justification for mass killing of innocent people. However the video shown by shi’a is doctored to present what they want the world to believe. If one watched the video it suggest as if the Hussainiya and the place where blockage of convoy of COAS took place are in the same place. While in fact they are more than three km apart. What the shi’a group did was to manipulate the video of the two events that happen in two separate days to achieve what they want people to believe. However it is not surprising given the resources at their disposal from IRAN and the fact they have many members in strategic positions in Nugeria. Even the current Minister of education Adamu Adamu is allege to be a member. While it is condemnable to kill people indiscriminately; the activities of Shi’a led by Ibrahim El Zazzaki has created tension between it and many Nigerians. They have frustrated many people and were operating as if they are parallel government.

    • Dan maikoko

      Dont waste your breath. If any body declare a state within a state then its not relevant to discuss how he was subdued.

      • Chuks007

        Yup. I remember when I heard the declaration of the state within the state. Massacre away.

        • Dan maikoko

          That is why it is important to ensure that you are the stronger party before you declare a state within a state.

    • Standing Emperor

      I laugh indeed. In one breath, you suggest there is no justification for killing innocent people, and in another justify the killings. Where do you stand? I know many non-Shia muslims try to justify the killings as many bling government supporters do too. The killings were planned and the road block story was the cover for the planned attack. There is nothing hidden under the sun and time shall reveal.

      • Dan maikoko

        The specter of a Brigadier General begging hoodlums for the right of way on a federal road is democracy for you right? The fact that senior army officers were begging zakzaky people to allow them pass destroys all theories of a planned killing. Think of something else but not planning.

        • eclub

          A citizen, or a group of citizens are higher in rank than any General in the army, according to our constitution.

          The Army is not the police. We are not a military government, we are a democracy. A General do not command the citizens, he commands his troops.

          • Dan maikoko

            You said citizen I said hoodlums. A general has the right to command his troops to obliterate insurgents and secessionist.

        • Standing Emperor

          So you have placed the military on this very high pedestal that is more like ‘alpha and omega’ that cannot beg civilians. I understand that the military rule in Nigeria has destroyed the psyche of many Nigerians. There is nothing wrong for the COAS to plead with them to have a right of way and it is totally wrong for the COAS to shoot his way through. The military is not only a fighting machine but also a peace maker that plays humanitarian roles in many countries except ours. Please reorientate yourself about the army. By the way, the so-called begging the IMN for a right of way story is one created by the military. It was the pretext for attacking. Look, that we support Buhari doesn’t mean everything that happens under his government must be defended,

          • Dan maikoko

            Well the shiite tape showed the military passing safely on another occasion. The same shiite tape also showed what they called hoodlums with sticks preventing the soldier from passing.
            If you choose to not see all that then I can’t help you.

          • Standing Emperor

            You still don’t get it because you simply can’t. So if hoodlums prevent the military from passing, the punishment should be death? How mighty can the military be that even god shouls subject himself/herself to them.

      • Bunduma Mohammed

        I am graduate of ABU and knew how shi’a started based on deceit and lies. They deceived innocent people with the name Muslim Brotherhood. Anything built on deceit and fallshood would have distrarious end.

    • Chuks007

      Doctored how?

  • tunde

    Do you think the military will allow hoodlums to take over the country in the name of religion?They caused the problem on themselves.

    • Standing Emperor

      Do you really understand what transpired on that fateful day? Do you really believe the COAS was prevented from going through the road? How many helicopters does the Airforce possess? Was killing the sect’s members the ONLY alternative for resolving the problem, assuming we concede the right of way of the COAS was indeed blocked? There is more than meet the eyes. Think critically and don’t allow the media think for you. Don’t believe all the media tells you especially under this government.

      • eclub

        Especially now that we see the boil over from Iran and Saudi, the latter having executed another shi’ite leader over there, two weeks Buhari massacred over here.

        Plus the implication of emir of Kano, who led a delegation to Saudi Arabia, where hundreds of Nigerian pilgrims were killed under suspicious circumstances, and our dictator who likes to probe corruption didn’t address the country or initiate a Federal investigation.

        Just how dumb will one be to accept that there’s no link to the events over there? And if Buhari ordered the massacre of up to 1000 citizens of this country, and nothing happens to him, such as impeachment, then what kind of people are we?

        • Dan maikoko

          Mr. Smart please sit back and watch a determined, purposeful government roll. Enjoy the ride. If you cant handle it then abdicate.

          • eclub

            Oh you are mistaken, a lot of people are deliberating on how to respond to all these events. Trust me, he will NOT do these things with impunity. It’s just stunning how quickly he changed, so most people still don’t understand.

            But, no he hasn’t gotten away with a massacre of this magnitude in this day and age. It’s impossible.

          • eclub

            Were the hundreds of Nigerian Muslims killed in Saudi Arabia last year with the emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, as their shepherd, Shi’ites? Were they murdered? Do you know? Have you had Buhari investigate? How determined and purposeful can he be if hundreds of people are dying like this? Corruption is not just about money. There’s corruption of power, Corruption of religion, Corruption of morality…

        • Standing Emperor

          They will never understand what you say. They see any act of this government as defensible using the pre-election mindset where it was APC versus PDP. It’s same mindset Lai still uses not knowing they are now in power and must now govern. You think for the Iranian President to call PMB over the leader of the IMN, there are no serious links? This issue is bigger than many of us think of it. Religion to especially the Muslims is big issue.

      • Dan maikoko

        So you want them to be left alone? Do you want them to be confronted when they start exploding bombs like BH? Do you have any idea how many were killed by maitatsine? This government acts and leave the ideal ramblings to people like you.

        • Chuks007

          No. It was the right thing to do to slaughter them all. We should buy more bullets so the army can kill all 10 million Shiites. Fundraiser anyone

          • Salaj237

            I think one of these days some members of your family will be innocently slaughtered like this in the name security. Amen
            The prayer is for chuks007 and Dan maikoko.

        • Standing Emperor

          Keep justifying the killings. I am sure people like you still think the Odi invasion was the proper thing to do. If the IMN is a threat, intelligence report would already be available to the military and I am sure it was. Now, is the killing the proper way to deal with that threat? Absolute NO. The attack was planned because the group was considered a threat from intelligence reports. My problem was the killing because it was totally unnecessary.

      • tunde

        Before i comment on your post,i advise you to watch the 9-minute-video that surfaced right after the incident.Pay particular attention to the behavior of those involved even thogh i did not rationalize killing of innocent civillians.

        • Standing Emperor

          9 minutes video that surfaced. Who released the video? What transpired before and after the 9 minutes? I can show you a video of someone throwing stones at me without showing you where I first insulted the person. The attack was pre-planned and meditated. The road block was the pretext for launching an already planned attack. Now, don’t think I am sympathetic to the IMN. I am not for obvious reasons. However, even an armed robber does not deserve to be shot except by the pronoucement of a competent court of law.

          • tunde

            Did you see the behavior of those boys before army reinforcement arrive?The boys would have attacked those army officers had they not used experience.

  • Dan maikoko

    Every Nigerian should be extremely sensitive to any manifestation of religious bigotry or fanaticism. We have paid a very high price in the past right from the days of maitatsine. Threats from groups such as this headed by Alzakzaky must be confronted. I would have suggested a less violent method such as calling on the occupants of Husainiyya to surrender. Those that surrender must treated humanely. Those that refuse to surrender can be shot.
    However doing nothing about them is not an option and I will recommend that the army do something, anything else than nothing.

    • Chuks007

      So slaughter them all

      • Dan maikoko

        I didn’t say that.

    • Dr Ken

      With your shocking mindset, do we really belong same?

      • Dan maikoko

        We certainly don’t belong together. You are concerned about stopping a potential threat before it explodes and hundreds of thousands die. I want the govt to act and act fast .

  • eclub

    I guess GOD has deviced a way for you to determine in a crystal clear fashion if you are human or a beast:

    You condemn this act by Nigerian Army and Buhari – HUMAN
    You Condone this action by Buhari and the Nigerian Army: BEAST.

    No middle ground

    • Dan maikoko

      That is the way of the fanatics, no middle ground. So what god do you worship?

    • Chuks007

      Ditto

  • Joe

    Sorry for the loss, God knows best

  • True Nigerian

    No country can lose this number of people (unarmed civilians) and still say “they got what they deserved”.

    What do they deserve really? To be killed for blocking the roads? Let’s assume that one of them was pushing an army general backwards by hitting the general on the chest (as Buhari stated in his disgusting justification). If one person pushes an army general on his chest, how on earth does it justify the killing of 300 people?

    Having killed 300 people “lawfully”, how lawful is it to dump their bodies in a mass grave? If the killing was lawful, why was the army hurriedly burying them in a mass grave?

    Nigeria and Nigerians should be ashamed on our army, and Buhari must be told that his tongue-in-chief feckless defence of the horrific violation of human rights by the Nigerian army will not help his government.

    As sick as Nigeria’s conscience and the conscience of its leadership is, some of us will never allow our judgement to be lowered in the name of our so-called “patriotism” – blind patriotism is injurious to any country.

    Blind patriotism is the reason many people simply praised Jonathan as he steadily and consistently destroyed Nigeria. As a strong supporter of Buhari since 2003, I will not give him the benefits of blind support. He will not get it from me. Therefore he must stand up and be responsible. He must search his conscience and truthfully condemn the mindless murder of unarmed civilians by an army that has consistently told lies when the truth mattered most.

    Last year, El-Zakzaki’s sons were arrested alive and well. The army took them into custody as healthy and unarmed civillians. The next day, the army returned their corpses. Did they also block the road and tried to kill the army chief?

    This country is disgusting. If we continue on this path, we will soon reach a point where nearly every Nigerian is a hater of his or her own country. That is when we will realise what we have done to ourselves by shielding and defending injustice.

    • Dr Ken

      I share your sentiments 100%. What a shame, indeed, what a shame.

  • Omotolaaraujo

    I hope the military isn’t investigating itself again. It was worthless the last time.

  • Oladapo Sunday

    This Video is far from convincing,