The United States has faulted the Nigerian government for failing to act on a report indicting the Nigerian Army on the clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The United States has faulted the Nigerian government for failing to act on a report indicting the Nigerian Army on the clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement.
The U.S, in its International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, noted that the Nigerian authorities failed to demand accountability from soldiers accused of human rights abuse.
The report was released on Tuesday by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour.
According to the report, in December 2015, men of the Nigerian Army, clashed with the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, killing hundreds of them and burying them in mass graves.
The report also noted that the Nigerian government continued to hold El-Zakzaky and restrict the free movement and association of his followers.
It added that dozens of IMN members were still being held since December 2015, charged with the death of the soldier allegedly killed during the clash.
It read, “Human rights groups continued to report the Federal Government often failed to prevent, quell, or respond to violence affecting religious groups, particularly in the North Eastern and central regions of the country.
“In November, Kano State police fired tear gas and bullets, killing three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria during its annual Ashura procession.
“The government continued to detain the leader of the IMN, the country’s largest Shia group, and restrict the activities, free movement, and free association of its members.
“There were no reports of accountability for soldiers implicated in the December 2015 clash between the army and IMN members that, according to a Kaduna State Government report and reports from non-government observers, left at least 348 IMN members and one soldier dead, with IMN members buried in a mass grave.”
The report noted that the Nigerian government continues to defy court orders by refusing to release El-Zakzaky and his wife.
“The government stated publicly that Sheikh El-Zakzaky, leader of the IMN and a prominent Shia cleric, would remain in what it said was ‘protective custody’ pending the appeal of the December 2016 decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja that the government must release him.
“At year’s end, El-Zakzaky remained in prison.
“The court also ruled that the government must provide him with a house and pay him and his wife restitution of N25m ($69,600) by January 15; at year’s end, the court’s order had yet to be followed,” it added.
Recall that last week, the Amnesty International released a similar report of human rights abuse by the Nigerian military.
The AI report contained alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of internally displaced persons in the north-east by soldiers and members of the civilian joint task force.
The federal government dismissed the report, saying it does not contain factual leads that could have laid the foundation for investigative actions.
Presidency spokesman, Garba Shehu, said that the human right group reports are only being recycled.