Orphans of slain Shiites demand prosecution of their parents’ killers

Posted by News Express | 7 January 2018 | 1,047 times

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•Shiite children during a procession

 Children of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiites, who lost their lives in conflicts with government forces have demanded prosecution of killers of their parents.

In a statement issued on Friday by Kumail Ibrahim on behalf of the children, they are also asking for immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, detained leader of the Movement, his wife and other brothers.

“We are representing thousands of children of the Islamic Movement that lost their parents in Zaria massacre from December 12 to 14, 2015. The public ought to know that the unfortunate massacre of brothers and sisters of the Islamic Movement and the subsequent arrest of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, hundreds of other brothers and sisters; and the destruction of property belonging to the Sheikh, perpetrated by the Nigerian Army in Zaria under the watchful eyes of the Nigerian government, has rendered 1,866 children orphaned. The means of our livelihood which include payment of school fees now rest solely in the hands of friends and family in this difficult moment.     

“What we can never forget as children is that our parents did nothing wrong or punishable in any sense, but were unlawfully killed owing to their religious belief. We will also continue to remember that fateful Saturday, December 12, 2015, when soldiers were stationed directly opposite Hussainiyyah Baqiyatullah (centre where teaching sessions and other activities are held) located along Sokoto Road, adjacent to the polo pitch, Zaria. On that day, we were to commemorate the arrival of al-Rabi’ul al-Awwal, the birth month of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. However, under the hoax of ‘road blockade’ and ‘assassination attempt’, the Army launched the genocide that claimed more than a thousand persons, including three sons of Sheikh Zakzaky, namely Hammad, Ali and Humaid.

“Likewise, the Army burnt many people alive, including an elder sister to Sheikh Zakzaky and cruelly continued the pogrom with so many brutish atrocities, indistinguishable from war crimes. In order to cover up conclusive evidences from the massacre, the Nigerian Army did a secret mass burial to our parents at a site in Mando, Kaduna. The property demolished by the Army include: Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, residence of Sheikh Zakzaky, Darur Rahman that encompasses a number of things: film village, barn, stable, and a portion which serves as the graveyard for our martyrs; the house of the late Sheikh Zakzaky’s mother, a portion of which also serves as her tomb.

“We also want to remind the public that the report of Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) constituted by Kaduna State Government under the chairmanship of Hon. Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba has found that the ‘Cordon and Search Operation’ conducted by the Nigerian Army that led to the Zaria pogrom ‘was in contravention of the provision of Section 8 of the Armed Forces Act, No 24 of 1994’. Similarly the report of Amnesty International titled: ‘Unearthing the Truth: Unlawful Killings and Mass Cover-Up in Zaria’ has uncovered crimes against humanity committed by the Army.”

The statement further read: “It is pertinent to state that Islamic Movement under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is not an organisation, but a ‘struggle’ and a mass ‘movement’ of millions of people that awakens Muslims to live a life according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and also conscientise Christians about the struggle against injustice and oppression: a struggle to support whoever is oppressed and wherever he may be. The Islamic Movement cuts across regional boundaries and religious entities in which Christians are now becoming part and parcel of it.

“The continuous illegal detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky made us, as children, to understand that the Nigerian Army executed the massacre on behalf of General Muhammadu Buhari. If the assertion is not true, the government should prove it otherwise by releasing our leader right away, and prosecute the ruthless perpetrators of Zaria massacre.”

The statement vowed: “Children of the Islamic Movement will continue to protest, demanding for unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky and prosecution of the perpetrators of Zaria genocide at all – and at any – cost.”

Source: News Express

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