A human rights group says there is credible evidence of mass graves in Nigeria following a recent massacre of Shia Muslims by the Abuja government troops in the country’s north.
The Britain-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said on Wednesday that Nigerian military had secretly buried hundreds of bodies in mass graves after it stormed the house of top Nigerian Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.
According to media reports, dozens of people are believed to have been killed in the raid, but the IHRC has put the toll at over 1,000.
The IHRC chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, has also confirmed that more than 1000 people were systematically killed in the Nigerian army’s brutal raid on Shia Muslims.
“More than a thousand innocent unarmed people have been systemically killed for nothing whatsoever. The reality is that all of what these people have done is to challenge injustice,” Shadjareh said in a recent interview with Press TV.
The fatalities came on December 13, when Nigerian forces raided the house of Sheikh Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, and arrested him after reportedly killing the individuals attempting to protect him. One of the movement’s senior leaders and its spokesman lost their lives during the imbroglio.
The development came a day after clashes between troops and Shia Muslims in Zaria claimed at least 15 lives and left many more injured.
Reports said soldiers opened fire on the people attending a ceremony in Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah, a religious center in Zaria. The Shias had reportedly stopped the convoy of the Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai as al-Zakzaky was planning a speech in the religious center.
The Nigerian government has come under strong criticisms from international human rights groups and activists for violating religious and social freedoms, including attacks on peaceful Shia gatherings.
Nigerian Senator Shehu Sani has condemned the military attack as indiscriminate and unacceptable, saying it has tarnished the county’s global image.
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has also called for an emergency meeting over the massacre.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have condemned the attack calling for an urgent investigation into the killing.
The United States has also urged the Nigerian government to launch a credible and transparent probe. In Iran, protesters gathered in the front of the Nigerian Embassy in Tehran to condemn the army's bloody crackdown.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has also said that the Nigerian army’s attack on the country’s Shia community was an orchestrated plan to exterminate the community in the African nation.
This is while Takfiri Boko Haram militants have also targeted Shia Muslims in Nigeria. More than 20 people were killed on November 27, when a bomb attack struck an annual religious procession in the northern state of Kano. Boko Haram terrorists later claimed responsibility.