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Outcry over Abuja bloodbath

Publish date: 05 November 2018
Issue Number: 798
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Nigeria

The US embassy in Nigeria has called on the authorities to investigate the deaths of protesters from a Shia Muslim sect during clashes with security forces in Abuja last week. As previously reported in Legalbrief Today, police arrested 400 members of the sect after days of deadly protests in Abuja. The pro-Iran Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) protesters demanded the release of their leader Ibraheem Zakzaky who has been detained for more than a month. He has been accused of inciting violence. The army admits that three people were killed in clashes in the capital a week ago, but the IMN says the number is significantly higher. Amnesty International said 45 IMN supporters died over two days of clashes. ‘Video footage and eyewitness testimonies consistently show that the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gatherings by firing live ammunition without warning, in clear violation of Nigerian and international law,’ Amnesty said. In 2016, a judicial inquiry found that the army had killed more than 300 Shia Muslims during clashes in the north. No soldiers have been arrested, despite the judicial inquiry calling for prosecutions. BBC News reports that the embassy said it wanted the authorities ‘to take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for violations of Nigerian law’.

Amnesty International statement

Full BBC News report