Zaria Killings: International Crisis Group calls for inquiry

Shi'ite procession from Kaduna to Zaria

A global conflict prevention organization, International Crisis Group, has called for a full-scale inquiry into the recent extra-judicial killing of hundreds of Nigerian citizens in the city of Zaria.

The call follows last weekend’s deadly clashes between soldiers and members of a religious group, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, in which a large but yet unconfirmed number of people, mostly members of the group, were killed.

In an interview with its Senior Analyst, Nnamdi Obasi, the Brussels-based conflict-prevention think-tank urged that the proposed inquiry should identify any individuals whose actions triggered or aggravated the violence, and recommend appropriate legal sanctions.

The inquiry, the ICG said, should also “make provisions for redress and compensation for the many innocent people who suffered human or material losses during the violence”.

Observing that President Muhammadu Buhari “was silent in the first three days after the violence”, ICG urged the president to respond “urgently and directly” to the situation.

The group called on the president to re-assure all Nigerians, particularly those directly affected by the recent violence, “that his government is committed to the rule of law and will not condone impunity by any group, civilian or military”.

Recalling that the extra-judicial killing of Boko Haram’s leader Mohammed Yusuf in police custody was a major factor that tipped that group into a deadly insurgency, Crisis Group urged the Buhari administration to “avoid a repeat of the 2009 blunder”.

It particularly called on relevant government officials and agencies to “comply fully with the law” in their treatment of the hundreds of IMN members arrested in connection with the recent violence.

For the military, Crisis Group observed that the Nigerian army already has “a questionable human rights record”, and urged the nation’s military authorities to “take every possible action to avoid worsening that record”.

It called on the authorities to sanction any officer or officers “whose actions may have abused or violated citizens’ rights” during the violence.


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