Media blackout in the face of the bloodbath in Nigeria

By Marwa Osman

“Deadly clashes between Shia Muslims in the country's north and the army”: This is how the mainstream media is handling the mass murder committed by the Nigerian army against their own people who happen to be Shia.  The brutal crackdown, at Zaria, a city in Nigeria’s North, over the course of the past three days starting Sunday December 13 till Tuesday December 15, has resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians deliberately and based on a well-organized plan.

The plan goes back when hundreds of thousands of Muslims across Nigeria embarked on Arba’een symbolic trek to Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria.  The walk began on 26th Nov., and it took the pilgrims 7 days to reach Zaria.

The pilgrims from various routes converged at Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria for the Arba’een lecture by the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sayyed Ibraheem Zakzaky on Safar 21 (December 3, 2015). The purpose of Arba’een trek done annually is to recall the trials and tribulations of the Household of the Holy Prophet dragged and chained in the scorching desert, barefooted, from Karbala in Iraq, to Damascus in Syria, after the brutal killing of Imam Husain (AS), son of the Holy Prophet’s daughter Fatima, by forces of Yazid son of Mu’awiyyah, 61 AH.

Pilgrims on the Kaduna-Zaria Road and Kano-Zaria Road take this journey at least twice yearly, with approval from relevant security agencies before embarking on any procession, with extreme security measures taken by members of the Islamic Movement. However, apparently the Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, who gave the order for the massacre, did not like it.

The Chief of Army staff knew all about the processions for commemorating Arba’een yet chose to flock his soldiers to the middle of it and then claim that the peaceful (and unarmed) civilian allegedly blockaded the route of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS ) which somehow gave him and his Army the legitimacy to brutally attack harmless pilgrims along with members of the Islamic movement, killing them all indiscriminately.

In the meantime, there is no idea as to the whereabouts of the leader of the movement, Sayyid Ibraheem Zakzaky nor his present conditions, while aggrieved members of the movement across the country have taken to the streets in protests.

Members of the Islamic movement said after the initial massacre, soldiers returned to the Baqiyyatullah Husainiyyah headquarters at Zaria, as well as the private home of Mr. Zakzaky at Gyellesu late Saturday and killed many people, while both the spiritual headquarters and Mr. Zakzaky’s house were torched.

The movement said in a statement that “the killing was so brutal at Gyallesu that even those injured in the shooting were identified and killed in cold blood by the soldiers. As at the time of writing this statement, the victims run into their hundreds, if not thousands”.

These unjustifiable acts by the army are being given legitimacy by the western mainstream media by allegedly claiming that members of the Islamic movement attempted to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff. This accusation can be denounced as a blatant and utter lie, as the Army came back to launch their attack on the victims more than an hour after the COAS passed.

What has been happening in Nigeria for the past three days can be easily labelled as an unjustifiable crime induced by a desire for power and control. Yet, despite the apparent killings, no department of the Nigerian government has yet condemned them or provided details of what happened.

The death toll has not yet been confirmed by independent investigation or human rights groups. Still, the Nigerian military has a long and terrible history of human rights abuses, including killing civilians, during its campaigns to get a harder grip on the country.

Meanwhile, the rights group Amnesty International in Nigeria has demanded an immediate investigation of the deadly incident. "While the final death toll is unclear, there is no doubt of that there has been a substantial loss of life at the hands of the military," said M.K. Ibrahim, Director of Amnesty International, Nigeria. He stressed that an "impartial investigation" is necessary, adding that any found responsible for the killing must "be brought to justice".


  • 2015-12-17 21:59
    Condem brutal massacre Nigerian people.....
  • 2015-12-18 20:28
    free el zakzaky
  • 2015-12-19 14:22
    unarmed??? after seeing the unarmed civilian phrase I knew the whole story is a pure propaganda!! YouTube video clearly shows armed, aggressive and irate youths speaking aggressively to the army's chief guards. Next time you want to write a propaganda please do a little research