ARMY DENIES PLANNING TO STEAL BODIES FROM MASS GRAVE.
The Nigerian Army said at the weekend that that its personnel were planning to steal bodies of members of the Shiite Islamic group who were killed and buried after the face-off between the Army and IMN, is not only untrue, but a figment of the imagination of its authors.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 1 division, Kaduna, Col Abdul noted “The Nigerian Army will like to make it abundantly clear that, it has never contemplated such act at any time.
“It is simply a concoction of lies and deliberate effort by the IMN to portray the Nigerian Army’s image negatively”.
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) had alleged that the Nigerian Army is planning to steal bodies from mass grave in Zaria, noting further that a contingent of soldiers have been deployed to keep guard at the site of the mass grave in an effort to prevent the uncovering of the hundreds of bodies buried there.
While countering the allegation Abdul said, “It is simply a figment of their jaundiced imagination and a campaign of calumny against the Army. The Army strongly and categorically rejects the IMN’s unfounded n spurious allegation”.
“It’s of no relevance whatsoever. We are focused on discharging our constitutional duty as a professional military force.
“We expect any responsible media to double check such weighty allegations before going to press. Nigeria’s national security and interest must never be toyed with.
Continuing the Army said, “The Nigerian Army as a law abiding entity had already stated its facts regarding the December 12-14 incident in Zaria before the Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba led Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the commission had on Wednesday 27th April, 2016 visited all the sites of the incident in Zaria including the grave site in Kaduna. It was widely aired.
“It is not the duty of the Army to guard any public grave site other than our own designated military cemeteries.
“It appears that the IMN’s desire is to whip up public sympathy not minding their crimes over several years against the people of Zaria as testified by the parties at the just concluded sitting of the commission.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria failed to state her facts or opinion if any as regards the incident of December 12th and 14th 2015 before the judicial commission of inquiry.
“While we await the report of the judicial commission, we would like to call on the general public to disregard this unfounded claim.
“Nigerian Army will continue to safeguard the lives and property of all citizens in every part of our great country. That is our mission.”
FREE SHEIKH ZAKZAKY, FOR US TO APPEAR BEFORE JUDICIAL COMMISSION – IMN
The statement of the IMN which also called for the release of Zakzaky reads, “The Northern State Governors Forum (NSGF), in a communiqué issued at its meeting last Friday, called on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to cooperate with the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the December military attack on members of IMN in Zaria.
The statement signed by Ibrahim Musa, spokesman for the group said, “We appreciate the Governors call; at least it is an acknowledgement on their part that something unfortunate in the history of the North happened in Zaria that if not handled fairly and justly could have long-term consequences for the region and the country in general.
”However IMN made their points for staying away from the commission very clear and will like to remind the Governors and the general public.
“None of the reasons have been given consideration or addressed by any of the relevant authorities or even by the NSGF or all those clamouring for our appearance before the commission.
“Foremost among the reasons is the continued incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who we all know was attacked in his own house towards midnight in what the Army termed ‘cordoned and search’ operation without any justification.
“The crux of the matter is that there is simply no rational basis for the soldier’s attack in his residence in the first place.
“In effect justice demands that Sheikh Zakzaky is supposed to be a free man so that he can give his own input to the Commission on his own volition.
“As things stands now, those who are accused of killing at least 1000 people including women and children are roaming about freely, despite admission that they buried at least 347 of those in a night burial in a mass grave in an attempt to hide their crime.
“On the other hand, Sheikh Zakzaky and hundreds of his followers who are victims of the brutal military attack are behind bars, with some standing trial for alleged culpable homicide.
“This smacks of gross injustice and bias on the part of the government that sets up the Commission. IMN firmly believes that for justice to be seen to be done, Sheikh Zakzaky should be promptly set free unconditionally.
“IMN also pointed at the lopsided composition of the commission, which is set in a way to suggest that the final report was already determined against it.
“We have already pointed out to the government and the public that among the ’13 wise men and women’ of the Commission are three people who are well known in their hate campaigns against the IMN. This has not been addressed too.
“What we had expected the NSGF to have dwelt up is not our absence from the proceedings of the Commission but the disturbing facts emanating from the confessions of the Kaduna state government in the mass burial of 347 people and the denial of such a war crime by the soldiers involved.
“The Army admitted before the panel that it handed ‘few corpses’ for the mass burial. Our records show that close to 400 others remain unaccounted for.
“Thus the NSGF ought to be sufficiently disturbed that a ‘few’ of their citizens were secretly buried in mass grave by one of their members and even more disturbing is the majority of the victims are yet to be accounted for. Did they task Governor Nasiru El-Rufai to explain?
“The Islamic Movement sincerely believes it is not too late for the NSGF to demand for the immediate release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and other members of IMN in detention.
“It is only when victims of the military attack in Zaria are savoring their freedom just like their attackers that justice might be expected from any judicial commission of inquiry.”
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