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2 years later, another December raid by Army on Zakzaky’s Shi’ites has gone unnoticed

Nigerian Identity

2 years later, another December raid by Army on Zakzaky’s Shi’ites has gone unnoticed

The Nigerian Army made two fresh arrests of members of the popular shiite group – Islamic Movement of Nigeria – in the Tsangarwa town of Jigawa State during the week. The allegation was made by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in a statement issued on the 21st of December.

Why it matters

The Army conducted a widely publicised raid of the sect in December 2015 which led to the deaths of about 348 people according to the Kaduna government’s commission of inquiry. Other groups like Amnesty International have placed the number of deaths as much higher. 

Another raid of this town during the same period of the year two years later has been downplayed but quite significant. Below are the issues:

The guilty are afraid?

According to the statement, the army which has been found complicit by the inquiry ostensibly conducted the raid based on a tip-off that “members of the Islamic Movement in the town were piling up arms with a view to taking revenge for the Zaria massacre by the military in December 2015.” 

The statement disclosed that the military found nothing incriminating. This if true, makes it harder for the military to justify the arrests of the 2 members of the sect. It also makes the case harder to argue against the narrative that the military was pursuing an “hidden agenda” against the sect. 

Search for an Alibi

The Nigerian government has ignored a court verdict delivered in December 2016, that ordered the release of the sect’s leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky within 45 days.

Amnesty International, a human rights NGO had in a statement described the unlawful detention of El-Zakzaky as possibly, “part of a wider effort to cover up the gruesome crimes committed by members of the security forces in Zaria in December 2015.” 

The Nigerian Army might just be hoping to find a weapon or some other incriminating material during this latest raid. This could have helped it sustain an unsubstantiated narrative that paints the group as a violent, extremist movement that had attempted to assassinate its Chief.

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