HAJIYA Ramatu Abdullahi, one of the victims of December 12, 2015, Zaria Massacre, which involved the Nigerian Military and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has revealed how the military attacked innocent civilians at several locations, aside from Zaria in Kaduna State.
She narrated how unarmed girls, women were shot at and left in the pool of their blood.
“I was shot adjacent to the residence of the Sheikh, where we had parked our car thinking that it would shield us from the attacks,” Abdullahi said in a new book, titled; December 2015, Massacre of Shiites in Nigeria, Survivors Accounts, written by Ibrahim Musa. “Some two young girls were shot dead just in front of us.”
“I thought they stooped and lied down to escape being hit. It was later that I realized that they were killed by bullets when I found out that they were lifeless.”
She also described how the military allegedly used Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) to gain access to the residence of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the IMN.
It could be recalled that the Shi’ite group was attacked by the Military in retaliation which led to the killings of several persons including women and sons of the detained El-Zakzaky.
“We had no weapons to fight with apart from seeking divine help. We could only chant takbir, Allah is great and occasionally some youths threw stones if they found any. They kept on killing and pushing forward towards the main residence of Sheikh Zakzaky until they reached the gate where some volunteer guards (Hurras) were,” she said from the book extract.
“They blew off the gate and continued to shell the area, advancing in three directions at the same time. By that time, they had already killed so many beyond any imagination. The shelling, which I later learnt was by rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) never stopped and was indeed so intense that we the survivors of that ferocious attack were only destined to survive.”
The military had accused Shi’ite members of attempting to kill Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), following the blockade of major access road by the Shi’ite members during their procession.
Though the military attempted to exonerate itself, but a viral video of the incident has already gained huge attention including that of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Abdullahi alleged she was shot at a point-blank range during reprisal attack by the military which, according to her, commenced at about 8:00 pm.
It was when she tried to assist one of the two girls that she got hit herself.
“I tried and dragged the girl to one of the neighbouring houses. Later, two male members, who were also shot joined us in the house,” she stated.
“I was about to get out again for the other girl when I learned that my elder sister, with whom I took cover behind the car earlier, was also shot. She fell down shortly after she had limped to the house and blood was profusely oozing out of her body.
“She was shot four times at her back. When the soldiers realized people were taking shelter in the house, they came after us! I had wanted to carry my sister and leave with her, but I couldn’t because she was too heavy for me, and I could not do it alone. I asked some women with us to assist us, but sadly we all also couldn’t, women not being as physically strong as men. I, therefore, had to drag her into one of the bedrooms in the house.
“As I tried to sneak out, I spotted a soldier entering the house. There were two males and a lady in the building at the time and some ladies who were all shot, either on their legs or their hands. Another woman was shot at the back and at her thigh. I watched in horror as the soldier shot them dead one after the other! When he walked out, I tearfully rushed over to find they were lying lifeless in the pool of their blood.”
She accused the military of being deliberate in the attacks.
She said it appeared the army had a hidden agenda for carrying out the atrocity as they allegedly have ulterior motives.
“I consider this to be an unjustified premeditated massacre. There was no reason to justify this genocide. All the excuses they offered cannot explain the extent of the heinous killings….If anyone had blocked their convoy, why did they not limit their punishment on those alone, instead of proceeding to commit genocide in different far locations from where the alleged block took place?
“Why were they in Sheikh Zakzaky’s residence located several kilometres away with intent to kill him?”
Meanwhile, the ICC has already indicated interests in the alleged war crime but currently awaits official position of the Federal Government on those prosecuted on the alleged crime.