Eight incontrovertible facts were exposed by the 8 minutes video investigation and evidence produced by the New York Times on the Nigerian army’s killing of peaceful Shiite protesters in the outskirts of Abuja, the national capital, at the end of October.
Let us examine them:
1. The Shiites were on a religious march that is done at such time of the year in all the Shiite communities worldwide. New York Times indeed acknowledged this much. It was a religious march that didn’t have to be attacked.
2. The procession did not block the road as there was free vehicular movement. This was clearly evidenced in the video contrary to the narrative given by the Nigerian army that the mourning procession blocked roads and impeded vehicular movement, including their military conveyance of arms and ammunition.
3. The procession was peaceful up until the military started attacking. New York Times clearly showed that the mourning procession was completely orderly and peaceful and that the marchers were not armed until the arrival of the Soldiers, who then opened fire at the marchers without provocation. Again, this is contrary to the narrative by the Nigerian army that claimed that the procession was violent and that the marchers attacked their checkpoint.
4. The military posture did not suggest they were under any threat whatsoever. They were seen brutalizing the marchers and none of the soldiers was seen taking cover from an alleged attack by the protesters. This negates the narrative by the Nigerian Army who said that they fired in self-defense having come under attack from the marchers.
5. The soldiers were not regular soldiers but from the elite unit of Brigade of guards (whose primary duties are to protect the Presidency). The processions were conducted at the two ends of the outskirts of Abuja, none of which was anywhere close to the presidency, the seat of power. Aso Rock was not in any way under threat, not to talk of being under threat by some peaceful religious marchers. What then brought the elite unit of the Brigade of guards into the scene? Their involvement in the attacks goes on to suggest the involvement of the presidency in the incessant persecution of the Shiites in the country because as the New York Times noted, their chain of command indicates that they report directly to the President.
6. The soldiers used sophisticated weapons that conventionally are used only in the war front. Curiously, the soldiers wanted to use maximum force to crush the peaceful marchers, hence the deployment of heavy and sophisticated machine guns to attack a completely unarmed civilian population that included women and children. Thus, right from the planning stage of the attacks, the presidency went for the kill and the outcome was devastatingly lethal, resulting in the bloodbath witnessed over the three days in Abuja.
7. Most of the people killed were shot at the back while fleeing. Again, this fact was noted by the New York Times’ report. Another indication that it was not a confrontation or a clash as the Nigerian authorities wanted the world to believe. It was a brutal massacre by a brutal army against an unarmed and defenseless civilian population.
8. The number of people killed was far in excess of the three that the soldiers admitted died as the result of their attacks. The New York Times reporters said they counted well over 10 times that number. The Islamic Movement had reported a total of at least 52 killed in the 3 days of the brutality, including those who later died in the hospitals as a result of the injuries sustained from the military attack.