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Zaria Killings: Rights Group Says Military Can’t Be Judge in Own Case

 Written by Misbahu Bashir, Kadua (Published in Daily Trust Newspaper, Tuesday 05 August, 2014)
Executive Director of the group Barrister Festus Okoye said in a statement that considering the magnitude of the incident, the allegations and counter allegations and the number of persons that died,

 only an open and transparent inquiry will unearth the circumstances that led to the clash and the high number of deaths recorded. Sheikh Zakzaky had accused soldiers of arresting his sons, Mahmoud Ibrahim Zakzaky, Ahmad Ibrahim Zakzaky and Hameed Ibrahim Zakzaky before killing them after a religious procession in Zaria, Kaduna state. About 33 people were said to have been killed including Zakzaky’s sons.

The defence headquarters in Abuja said it had launched an official inquiry into the killings. 

“We are also of the view that since the army is one of the parties to the conflict and serious allegations have been made against some of its officers, they cannot be then investigator and a Judge in their own cause,” Okoye said in the statement.

The group suggests that the federal government should set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry with full powers to determine the circumstances that led to the violent clash between the sect and the military officers on the July 25, 2014 and the tragic loss of lives of members of the movement.

It said the Commission should determine who fired the first shot and the circumstances that led to the soldiers being at the vicinity within the period of the incident.

The group said only a transparent judicial process will assuage the feelings of all adding that present inquiry being conducted by the defense headquarters will not instill confidence in the parties involved.