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The Zaria Massacre: Ten Months after

By Aliyu Smith Musawi
It is almost ten months since the blood-sucking Nigerian Army embarked upon one of the most heinous massacres in recent memory, with hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria being sprayed with bullets and massacred like ants, despite the monstrosity of the killings, despite the wanton destructions it caused, the killings did not even deserve a wink of sympathy from a president who is supposed to be a president for all. 

His silence, despite international outcry showed his tacit approval and the way he pinned the blame solely on members of the Islamic    Movement, who entirely bore the brunt of the massacre, had added credence to our long-standing allegation that he surreptitiously ordered the killings.  The Zaria massacre has without doubt brought to light various enemies’ plots against Shias which were executed after various attempts failed to materialize, and it is only a staunch hater whose visceral hatred towards Shia beclouds his sense of humanity, would agree Shias deserved to be massacred for allegedly blocking a road. I can go on.

It was a sunny day on 13th December, 2016 when hundreds of soldiers were dispatched at the front gate of Hussainiyya Baqiyatullah, and no sooner had they been deployed than they started killing our members in cold-blood, long before the arrival of brutal Burutai and when they demonstrated in protest, they were filmed and used as a Trojan horse to justify their massacre. Having falsely accused Shias of attempting to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, Brutai, the army returned to the sanctuary and massacred hundreds in the process. Shortly afterwards, another siege was laid to the residence of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky which also culminated in the killing of hundreds including high profile members of the movement, women, and infants were not spared either as they were gruesomely killed and burnt to cinder before they proceeded to Darur Rahma where they, after killing another hundreds of Shias, desecrated the graves of our martyrs and razed down the graveyards altogether.

 What ensued after the 48 hours of blood-letting was not commensurate with the enemies’ expectations which they thought we would be radicalized into Boko Haram-like militants not knowing that Zakzaky was, is and will forever be an exponent of peace, and he would not have been able to convert millions of people into the fold of Shi’ism had he ever used violence for anything. 

The Zaria massacre has produced more than 400 widows. More than 72 infants were killed, more than 1000 people were massacred in Gyallesu, Hussainiyya and Darur Rahma combined. Yet, not a single corpse was handed over to us for proper burial: the victims were crammed into two mass graves in order to cover up their crimes. Dozens of people were burnt beyond recognition when Zakzaky’s house was set ablaze.

All these barbaric attacks were carried out with little attention from the mainstream media who only tried to downplay the magnitude of our killings.  Ten months after the massacre, our supreme leader, Zakzaky, wife and hundreds of our members are still being detained without reasons in spite of the fact that the country claims to be practicing democracy which bans the illegal detention of persons without justification. Zakzaky has now lost six of his children, his eye wounded, his wife shot several times and hundreds of his followers are languishing in various prisons across the country while dozens of others disappeared with a trace.

Almost ten months after the massacre of our people, there is still no justice in sight- not even any sign that the Nigerian government would account for the bodies of more than a thousand Shias believed to be buried in mass graves. There is no sign of willingness from the government that our killers would be brought to book. Our resort is not violence or lawlessness, we only demand justice and will not relent protesting and demanding justice for our massacred brothers and sisters who were killed unjustifiably, we will not give up following every legal mean to secure redress for the destruction of our properties and we will not cave in protesting until our leader Zakzaky is released unconditionally.