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Nigerian Army Killed 348 Shiites in December Raid, Inquiry Says

  • VOA News

FILE - Nigeria Shiite Muslims took to the streets to protest violence against them and demand the release of Shiite leader Ibraheem Zakzaky, in Kano, Nigeria, Dec. 21, 2015.

FILE - Nigeria Shiite Muslims took to the streets to protest violence against them and demand the release of Shiite leader Ibraheem Zakzaky, in Kano, Nigeria, Dec. 21, 2015.

A Nigerian commission has found that the army killed 348 people from a minority Shiite Muslim sect last December and has called for the prosecution of those involved.

"The Nigerian army used excessive force," said the judicial inquiry in its report, published Monday. It said troops that took part in the three-day military raid on the northern city of Zaria should be identified "with a view to prosecuting them."

The Nigerian army raided the headquarters of Shiite Muslim leader Ibraheem Zakzaky in December, sparking three days of clashes in the area. One soldier was also killed in the violence. Zakzaky was injured in the raid and has been in detention since then.

The army accused Zakzaky's movement of attempting to kill Nigeria's army chief.

Zakzaky's group was inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The commission report expressed concern that Zakzaky's group may receive support from Iran, as well as Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah.

The inquiry said it received thousands of documents and more than 80 witness testimonies during the course of the investigation.

The majority of Nigeria's Muslims are Sunni and live in the north. The southern part of the country is largely Christian.

Nigeria's new president, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, has promised to root out human rights violations by soldiers.

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