The acting spokesman of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a group propagating the spread of Shi’ite ideology in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa, has said that over 800 members of the sect killed by the Nigerian troops were buried in mass grave.
A clash between members of the sect and the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on December 12 and 13 in Zaria left a yet unknown number of sect members, including the sect’s second-in-command, Muhammad Turi, dead.
But Mr. Musa, in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said hundreds of dead bodies were transported from Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital, Shika and military hospital in Zaria to a discreet location in Kaduna.
He said the bodies were first burnt to ashes and then buried in mass grave in the ditch.
According to him, some members of sect who trailed the military trucks conveying the bodies to the cremation ground and mass grave, narrowly escaped death as troops opened fire on them.
On how they arrived at the figure of the dead bodies, the sect’s spokesman told PREMIUM TIMES that medical workers at the hospitals reliably informed them about the number of bodies deposited in the two hospitals.
“We got our figures from reliable sources at the hospitals, and we are currently relating with the families of the victims in order to ascertain the exact number. We predict the death toll could reach up to 1,000 after we finish compilation.
“The most unfortunate thing is that the bodies of our members were cremated and buried in mass grave without allowing their families to give them befitting burials.
“Among the dead bodies were those of Sheikh Muhammad Turi, the children of our leader and many other prominent members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
“It is the highest act of cruelty that despite killing hundreds of people in cold blood, their grieving families were neither allowed access to the bodies nor allowed to give them proper burial.
Mr. Musa, who is also the editor of the sect’s weekly newspaper, Al-Mizan, also said that about 40 members of the sect who sustained gunshot injuries were remanded in Kaduna Prisons and Barnawa Open Prison without medical attention.
He said two of the injured members died Monday owing to absence of medical attention in the prisons.
Mr. Musa also said there are currently 160 arrested sect members currently in detention in Kaduna.