by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 10, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1438)
Nigerian army’s sole purpose of existence seems to be to attack and kill as many members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as it possibly can. Following the army’s massacre of 1,000 members of IMN last December, it embarked on another bloodbath last month.
The Nigerian army has made it a habit of attacking peaceful marches by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). This was again evident on November 14 when thousands of marchers were attacked and at least 100 gunned down in cold blood in Kano. Hundreds of others were injured when the ‘Ashura procession was attacked.
The Nigerian army alleged that members of the movement attacked and injured a soldier. Even if true — although it is doubtful — does it justify the killing of 100 or more peaceful marchers in retaliation? Further, what was the army doing when crowd management is normally the responsibility of the police? Soldiers also fired tear gas at the marchers who have been involved in such peaceful processions, which have attracted millions of people for many years.
Women and children were among the dead and wounded. The procession organizers found it difficult to compile a list of all the victims since the army took bodies away to cover up the scale of the carnage. Equally shocking was the fact that the army chased and shot people fleeing soldiers. After the carnage the IMN issued a statement saying it was “bewildered as to why it is now criminal for some people to choose to trek to a certain town if they wish.”
The army’s pogrom against the IMN started a year ago when more than 1,000 of its members were murdered and its leader, Shaykh Ibrahim Zakzaky, was shot several times and badly wounded. He remains in prison without charge; when he will be released is not known In another act of vandalism, the regime sent its bulldozers to destroy several buildings including schools, hospitals, and religious seminaries belonging to the group in Zaria and Saminaka.