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Zaria Killing: We Did Not Attempt To Assassinate COAS -Shi’ite

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Campaigner “Free Sheikh ZakZaky” group and spokesman of the Shiite movement, Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola has said that the Shiite movement never attempted any assassination on the life of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.

The group said the soldierswere already stationed in front of their mosque and residence with weapons some hours before the arrival of the Army boss.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja when the movement appeared before the National Human Rights investigation panel on the Zaria killing to defend their part of the incident, he said the Army “intentionally planned and successfully carried out their attack against us.”

He said they unjustly killed over thousands of people, dug a ‘big’ grave and buried all the people they killed hence they demand that the people should be brought out of the grave so that they can be given “a befitting islamic burial.”

He complained that “it is about 54 days now and we do not know where they have taken our leader and some other members to and we demand for their release.”

“Our leader and the entire group preach peace so there is no reason why any finger should point at our leader and say he is disturbing the peace of the country.”

Abubakar expressed shock that the Army submitted a petition against the group concerning the incident and the commission constituted a panel immediately to commence investigation on the issue but “in July 2014, the Army killed most of our members including three sons of our leader and we submitted a petition to the human rights commission and nothing has been done about it till date.”

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He said all the group demands for was the release of their leader and other members of the movement as well as justice at the end of the whole investigation exercise.

On his part, Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC ) Prof Bem Angwe said everyone involved in the matter must be treated equally and will be given an opportunity it to give their account of the incident.

He said the days of impunity in Nigeria was over hence at the end of the investigation exercise, if there was the need for a public hearing, the commission would not hesitate to do so.

On the allegation that the commission did not act on the petition earlier submitted by the group, Angwe said it was not true.

He explained that “when they submitted the petition on the July 2014 incident, we sent a team of principal officers to go and commence investigation in Zaria. The team even showed solidarity with their leader and took photographs with him.”

“We wrote to them as well as the Army to come and substantiate the allegations but we are yet to hear from them. The case is not close, we are just waiting for them so that investigations can go on.”

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