Shiite – Army Clash: Panel Recommends Prosecution of GOC

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John Shiklam in Kaduna with Agency reports

The judicial commission of inquiry that investigated the December 12 -14, 2015 clash between the Nigerian Army and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiites has recommended the prosecution of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1st Division of the Army in Kaduna, Major Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade.

According to Premium Times, an online news site, the commission in its report which was submitted to Governor Nasir El­-Rufai last Friday, accused the GOC of authorising the military operation that led to the killing of 347 members of the Islamic group in Zaria, Kaduna state.

The 13-member panel headed by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, while submitting the report did not make its finding public; however, Premium Times which claimed to have obtained a copy of the commission`s report revealed that Oyebade was indicted for deploying “soldiers to carry out such a large scale operation without recourse to the chain of command.”

The Shiite and the army had clashed on December 12 when the Islamic group in the course of observing one of their religious rites, blocked the highway in Zaria, preventing the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who was in the city for the Passing Out Parade of the Army Depot, from moving.

The incident later led to a face-off between the army and the Shiite members, leading to the killing of many members of the Islamic group.

Several others were injured while the residence of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky was destroyed.

Zakzaky, his wife and several members of the group were arrested.

While Zakzaky and his wife are still being detained, over 200 of his followers who are in prison custody have been charged to court.

According to Premium Times, “the GOC of the Army’s 1st Division, Kaduna, Mr. Oyebade, deployed soldiers to carry out such a large scale operation without recourse to the chain of command.

The Kaduna state government had revealed during proceedings of the panel that 349 victims of the incident were buried in a mass grave. The Panel visited the mass grave located at the Mando area of Kaduna metropolis.

According to Premium Times, the panel described the treatment of the corpses as undignified, noting: “the commission was unable to determine the causes of death of the deceased victims owing to the mass burial conducted by the state without any autopsy, the report found

“The panel said the burial of all corpses of male and female Muslims in one grave violated Islamic traditions and other relevant burial laws of Kaduna State and Rule 115 of the Geneva Convention” the online medium added.

The commission, according to Premium Times also found members of the IMN wanting for the death of one Corporal Dan Yakubu of the Nigerian army and recommended those found culpable in the killing of the officer for prosecution.

“Still, in a damning verdict, the panel said the force deployed by the army against the Shi’ite was “disproportionate”.

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