Death toll in Shiites Abuja killings up by 10 — Group

File photo of Shiite protesters
File photo of Shiite protesters

The Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria says it has received 10 additional bodies of its members who died during a recent clash between the group and the Nigerian military.

The Shiites, who last week clashed with the army in Abuja after the group began an inter-state annual religious trek, initially said 47 members were killed when soldiers opened fire on them.

On Thursday, the members said they received additional 10 corpses from the police and would bury them at Mararaba, a town in the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory.

“Ten more corpses from the Arbaeen Abuja killing were recovered yesterday from police. Burial will take place today at Mararaba,” the group said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.

This would bring the death toll to 57.

Apart from fulfilling a religious obligation, the Abuja trek was organised to demand release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

Mr El-Zakzaky was arrested in December, 2015 after his followers clashed with a convoy of the Nigerian Army, conveying the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

Although the Nigerian government confirmed over 300 Shiite members were killed in the 2015 clash, no officer has been tried over the matter.

Mr El-Zakzaky was arraigned on eight counts, for alleged murder, in April.

The Shiite members, whose protests contributed to the arraignment of Mr El-Zakzaky have vowed to continue their demand for the release of their leader.

The various protests have been violent with the Shiite members clashing with military officers, resulting in the deaths of many.

While the military blames the Shiite members for provoking the clampdown, the Shiite members denied the allegation, saying the attacks on their members were premeditated and caused by the Nigerian government.

 

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