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Zaria Massacre’: Eye Witness Account

By: Sajidah Aminu Yabo
The distressing impact of the recent genocide in Zaria, which was carried out by the Buhari government and its international cronies is undeniably manifold. If one were to put it plainly as I am an eyewitness, the first and the last casualty remain the head of the Islamic movement in Nigeria; Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub Zakzaky. 

The one who lost thousands of his followers which included his 6 biological sons, the leader who has been rendered homeless, the one whose integrity suffered by the federal republic of Nigeria, the one who partakes in rescue of darkness, one who has to rebuild and reconstruct everything from time to time. It was on Saturday, 12th December 2015, which coincided with the Islamic calendar 1st Rabiul Auwal 1437, at around 1:30pm or so, Ali Haidar (the 6th martyred son of sheikh) came in and told us that 30-40 military personnel came in front of Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah and were trying to take shooting positions, immediately I heard that I went in and dressed up, prayed Zuhr and Asr prayers, then went to Malama Zeenah Ibraheem (wife of sheikh) and told her I was going to Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah, but she told me not to go, their aim was exactly Gyellesu, so that stopped me from going to Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah.

About an hour after that, Malama Zeenah (Ummah) went to Daru Rahma where the shuhadah’s are laid to rest including that of her 3 biological sons and Suhaila and I accompanied her there. We spent some minutes there where she recited some duas from mafatihul janan. And we went back home (Gyellesu) after that. Around 5pm Malama Zeenah sent me to Malam Hamza Yawuri (Chief commander of Hurras) to get another person that can drive Shiekh Zakzaky (Abbah), she wanted Sheikh Zakzaky to observe the road because of the situation, from the message, I knew Sheikh Zakzaky was going to Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah for the annual raising of the flag despite the situation and I was scared, so I rushed down to Malama Zeenah (Ummah) to discuss this issue with her but she told me she can’t convinced Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah), soon after that Brother Muhammad (1st son of Sheikh) called me and was asking if Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) was still going to Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah I told him yes but he should call him to convince him which I believe he did that plus the report which Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) got from the Hurras that all the roads leading to Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah were hijacked by the Nigerian military.

In the meantime, I had been calling various members of Abulfdl Abbas foundation who were at the Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah to get some information from them. Just after 10pm a crowd started gathering in the lane leading up to the house. Suddenly, we heard gunshots by the Nigerian Army whom were well armed and well equipped with sophisticated weapons. That was when we realized the soldiers were approaching the house, but they could not enter the lane because of the people who had gathered there chanting “Allahu Akbar” and “Ya Mahdi” while some other hurras were trying to put sand bags to block the soldiers from going through.

The soldiers kept throwing grenades into the crowd and the shooting went on for hours. They went on shooting everyone blindly. Around 1am the hurras took out the light so the soldiers could not see the people, and so the lane became so quite. Every now and then when the soldiers noticed movement or phone light they would start shooting the people who had gathered in the lane and many people were killed that time. There was a point when there was no shooting for about 90 minutes. After that the shooting continued on and off when any movement was detected by the soldiers. This went on until 5:30am when it started to get light and people started to pray fajr prayer, around that time the shooting went on until day break. They killed everyone in the lane all the way up to the house.

This was on 13th December 2015 Around 8:30am I received a call from one of the martyred who is a member of Muassasatu Abulfdl Abbas Foundation that all of us should come out the soldiers had reached the gate of the house. I and some female members of Muassasatu Abulfdl Foundation were present in the house and we went out chanting “Allahu Akbar” suddenly chief driver of the hurras sent me to Malama Zeenah (Ummah) to tell her about their plans for taking Abbah out of the house but Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) smiled and said he is not moving an inch “we should depend on Allah” i was crying then and turned back heading to the door with my sister, Sheikh Zakzaky asked Ali to call us back we all sat down on the floor and Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) was reciting duas and praying continuously. We were eight in the room Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah), Malama Zeenah (Ummah), Hammad Ibraheem, Humaid Ibraheem, Ali (Hydar) Ibraheem, Suhaila Ibraheem, Zainab Hamid and I all praying together.

The soldiers went straight to the next door (hurras house) where the casualties were taken and could hear gunshot. The hurras who were in the other part of the house told us on the walkie talkie that they were killing the injured and also firing RPGs at the house. After a while we stopped hearing any sound or Allahu Akbar from the brothers and sisters that were in the house just the gunshot, they killed everyone. They announced “everyone in the house should come out no one will be harmed” but of course we did not believe them as they had killed thousands of people who had gathered in the lane and in front of the house. As we were all shocked by what was happening and all feared for our lives and did not believe we would be able to escape the soldiers Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) was so calm without no single fear saying “Allah yai mana afuwa” they announced again everyone in the house should come out after they counted 1-10 but we refused to believe them, we could hear them from the room with their tank trying to demolish the walls of the house. Hajiya Fatimah (senior sister of sheikh), Malama Shema’u (the cook) and Malama Rabi (the house help) were together in other part of the house (zaure).

There was silence, then they threw a bomb to the house when we realized that the control room and ‘zaure’ was destroyed, people were running on top of the roof later we found out it was the hurras trying to escape. We were still inside the Sheikh Zakzaky’s room all in sujud position then we could smell smoke, Sheikh Zakzaky stood up from the sujud and said is better we got shot than burnt inside the fire. We left the room and found seven brothers in the yard; one was shot in the leg and we saw many bodies in the yard. The house had been engulfed by fire, so we laid down and covered our faces with a wet clothes.

Later on we found out the laundry room was not destroyed by the soldiers so, we all moved in there, this was around 2pm, we could hear the movement of the soldiers in the house but the soldiers had not realized we were inside the laundry room and we remained there until the next morning. In the Morning of 14th December 2015, because it had become silent we wanted to check if the army had left Sheikh Zakzaky also wanted to check if his data/records of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria of about 40 years were not destroyed he was accompanied by his wife and his son Hammad but unfortunately nothing was found just sand and ashes. Because we needed food and water, and there was grapes in the garden so, Ali went straight and got us some grapes from the garden on the process Ali saw someone who was alive but was shot several times, he fed him some grapes too, but we could not take him inside the room because the room was so small and we were about 15 inside the room.

That same morning the minister of education called sheikh’s daughter (Suhaila) but as soon as she answered he hung up. A few minutes later we heard a soldier saying “come out” “come out” after that a gang of soldiers came inside the house they first found the injured person, where is Malam and his family they asked we could not hear his answer. Suddenly, a soldier said “open that door!” as soon as the soldier opened the door two of the hurras who were with us stepped out of the room we were inside. A soldier screamed at them to remove their shirts and that Malama Zeenah, Sister Zainab, Suhaila and I should remove our hijabs, but of course we refused to obey them. One of the soldiers gave an order to shoot an RPG into the room but another soldier said NO they should take up shooting positions instead, a soldier closed our door and they started shooting us, everyone in that room was shot except Ali, Sister Zainab, Suhaila and I. Hammad and Humaid were shot in the head, Ummah was shot in the stomach and a bullet scraped her lap, Sheikh Zakzaky was shot in his right leg and left arm three (3) times a bullet scraped his left eye or the side of his head and a bullet also scraped his right palm.

I noticed snipers positioned in the trees focusing on the room we were situated in, the soldiers insisted we should leave the room and that no one would be harmed but we were afraid for Abbah. Suhaila was trying to make phone calls to Brother Muhammad and Sister Nusaibah as Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) wanted to speak to them, during that calls Ali went out of the room screaming “I can’t leave without Abbah” after seeing his father in a critical condition one of them shot him in the back three times he was killed right there and his body was dragged away. The soldiers tried to take Sheikh Zakzaky by force so they laid a ladder on top of the dead bodies that had been slain before us, he tried to pull Malama Zeenah but she resisted so he punched her several times and managed to pull her out of the room by force while some soldiers were beating her and they removed her hijab. The soldiers were trying to take us one by one, Sister Zainab was dragged out of the room, Suhaila was kicked in the face and punched in the eye before she was dragged out of the room, and eventually I was the last person forcibly taken out of the room thrown to the ground and was heavily beating by a soldier with his shoe, they bound my hands with rope and Suhaila also. Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) was carried out of the room and been taken into a truck. We were thrown down in the truck and soldiers matched their legs on our back but Malama Zeenah (Ummah) and Sister Zainab were sitting on the seat, they took us to an army depot in sabon gari. Immediately we reached their they took Malama Zeenah to an army clinic which is part of the army depot and brought us down from the truck where they started saying some filthy talks on Muhammad Rasulullah, Imam Ali, and Sheikh Zakzaky.

Suhaila had fainted that time. Another soldier appeared from somewhere else and stopped them from doing what they were doing to us, ordered them to untie us and they took us to the clinic, Sister Zainab was taken somewhere else I don’t know where because she had no wound. I and Suhaila were taken to the clinic where our wounds had been treated/dressed, after a bit, we were taken into the clinic ward where we met some injured sisters. I was handcuffed to the bed Suhaila also. After a while, some group of soldiers came into the clinic ward and started questioning me with their camera recording our conversations. They asked about where we had been hiding in the house they thought there was a basement to the house and wanted to know where the entrance was but I told them there was nothing like that they snapped me and left.

On 15th December 2015, a soldier came in and said they would transfer Sheikh Zakzaky, Malama Zeenah, Suhaila and I to a place at 12pm but this never happened, later we heard that the leader and his wife were transferred but we don’t know where and still don’t know their where about. Around 2pm or thereabout all the injured sisters about six of them were taken to A.B.U teaching hospital shika by the soldiers, later on we were taken to another room of two where we remained there for three days. Another morning, a military doctor came in and told us that the bullets had been removed from Sheikh Zakzaky (Abbah) and he was fine, he also informed us his wife had been treated. On 18th December 2015, that was on Friday we were released to the police. When we got to see one of us, she informed us that she had been held in prison conditions and had been cuffed just like us but at the ankles. She told us she had witnessed people been tortured even though they had been shot. We entered their car and they took us to police station sited at GRA near Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah, where the DPO wrote a statement and gave it to the soldier that brought us there. They served us food and water, we prayed and had some rest before the DPO took us to the Area commander where we had some questions about Hammad, Humaid and Ali’s death and we confirmed their death.

Around 530pm we were taken to Malam Abdulqadir’s house by the police Conclusively, I seek indulgence of the reader to pass fair judgement on the account on the zaria carnage by the Nigerian Army. In the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria NO citizen shall be withheld or keep in custody for more than 48 hours without taking his or her case to a court, but no such section is valid in this case. Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his wife and some hundreds of his followers are in custody for some weeks now, without any concrete reason, so also thousands of his followers were killed but till date they have not returned a single body to pray for the way Islam commands us to. When an orchestrated plan was well executed by the Nigerian Army.