Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shi’ites, have accused the army of abducting 50 girls from Zaria, Kaduna state during last year’s clash between the sect and some soldiers.
The organisation also announced the establishment of the #BringBackOurZariaGirls campaign, and said it would not rest until the girls are rescued.
The Shi’ites said the parents of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls were looking up to the military to secure the release of their children, without knowing that soldiers also abducted innocent people.
In what could be seen as a jest on the military, the organisation said the difference between soldiers’ and Boko Haram’s style of operation is that while insurgents acted under anonymity, the soldiers committed the alleged crime openly.
“We still mourn the tragedy of the loss of our brothers and sisters, but the bitter part of it is the abduction of over 50 girls by men of the Nigerian army,” the group said in a statement.
“The abduction of the girls took place immediately after the disastrous massacre at the residence of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, which is a shameful act that dented the image of the Nigerian military in the international arena.
“In a situation where Nigerians and parents of the abducted Chibok girls relied heavily with the belief that the army can rescue their abducted children, the same army were caught in a new set of abduction paradox.
“The distinction between Chibok girls’ abduction and Zaria abduction is that Chibok is related to a group that operates in anonymity, while in Zaria, the girls’ abduction was fully undertaken by uniformed men of the Nigerian army.
“Females are precious species that are highly fragile and sensitive; that is the reason why we launched the #BringBackOurZariaGirls campaign; we hope to see the engagement of human right activists, socialists, feminist groups, and all sympathetic minds in the struggle for the freedom of our abducted girls.”
Recalling the tragedy that followed the clash, the organisation demanded the release of its leaders and other members in detention.
“Last year on 12 to 14 December, we were mercilessly attacked by men of the Nigerian Army (N.A) at our worship centre, Husainiyyah Baqiyyatullah. While we were about to commence an event of a flag hoisting for celebrating the month of Rabi’ul Awwal (The month in which the holy Prophet of Islam was born), the convoy of the chief of army staff arrived and executed a purported plan in which they accused members of the movement of denying the COAS passageway. The army disguised under road blockade and instantly killed over 50 people at the centre.
“They also proceeded to Gyallesu residence of Sheikh Zakzaky, a far location from the worship centre, where they committed massacre in its fullest. They killed the old and the juvenile; also among those killed were infants.
“The Nigerian army spent over 48 hours killing innocent Nigerian citizens without any legal backup. They notoriously failed to allow the law to take its course. At reaching the house of the leader of the Islamic movement, they killed three of his biological sons, shot his wife while he watched, and finally shot him in sensitive spots.
“The Nigerian army whisked the Sheikh and his wife to an unknown destination, and after some few days they handed them over to the DSS.
“It is over nine months now since the tragedy, and our leader is under the custody of the DSS while sustaining gunshots.”