Army says Amnesty International’s report on Shiite protests is false

THE AI (Amnesty International) report on the clash between Nigerian soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) some days ago is not a true reflection of what transpired, the Nigerian Army says.

This is in response to the allegation by AI that soldiers killed over 45 IMN members, also known as Shiite Muslims, during a procession in Abuja over two days.

AI said its research team “counted 24 bodies (23 male and one female)” while “trusted sources provided details of 21 others” killed by soldiers during the clashes.

“We have seen a shocking and unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police against IMN members,” AI wrote. “This pattern clearly shows soldiers and police approached IMN processions not to restore public order, but to kill.”

But in a statement on Friday, the army denied the allegations by Amnesty International, describing them as “cooked up” and a figment of the body’s imagination aimed at painting Nigeria black among the comity of nations.

The military has never been sent to stop the protesting Shi’ites group at any given time. On the events referred to by the AI, the soldiers were not after the protesting Shi’ites, neither was there such a number of casualties,” the army explained.

“A convoy from the Army Headquarters Garrison Abuja was conducting a routine shipment of ammunition and missiles to a military formation in Kaduna escorted by troops when they ran into the protesters at Zuba in FCT.

“The protesting Shi’ites prevented the convoy from proceeding on its mission but rather attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the shipment. Hence, the troops had to protect the goods and extricate themselves from the imminent mob action by applying minimum force.

“The IMN also had another confrontation with the military at a popular checkpoint along Nyanya – Mararaba road leading into the FCT. Those living in or transiting the FCT knows that the military checkpoint had been established since 2014 after the BHT attack on Nyanya Motor Park.

    “Unfortunately, the group tried to overrun the checkpoint in which the military resisted. In all these attacks, the IMN was the aggressor while the military only acted in self-defence.”

    The army, however, insisted that only six casualties were recorded in the two incidents, as against the 45 being claimed by AI, while seven members of the Shiite group and six soldiers were injured.

    Earlier on Friday, the army, via its Twitter handle, shared a video of the US President, Donald Trump, urging the country’s military ‘open fire’ on rioters if they throw rocks at them.

    “When they throw rocks, as they did at the Mexico military and police, consider it a rifle,” Trump said.

    The Nigerian army shared the video perhaps as a justification for its actions during the clash with the Shiite Muslims.

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