T he Zaria pogrom of December 2015 is an incident that has permanently been recorded by history and the major actors and stakeholders already have their names written boldly in the black books of history. There is no way the genocide perpetrated by the Buhari regime on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, members can ever be forgotten most especially as it has affected the IMN members as individuals directly or indirectly and generally as a group.
IMN member were mercilessly killed with some burned alive including the elder sister of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his nephew while others were buried alive and women were molested by the Nigerian Army.
Three children of the IMN leader were brutally murdered by the Army while he was literally killed but he didn’t die. It was a very terrible incident that even the Nigerian Army had to officially operate as a coward in order not to allow itself be identified with that dirty job it did.
A lot of Nigerians wondered how the Army could descend so low and operate just like a terrorist organization and murder innocent unarmed civilians who pay tax to support them without any form of instigation whatsoever simply because their Commander-in-Chief is a Sunni Muslim and their victims are Shiah Muslims.
Being a proxy war they are fighting for their masters in America, Israel and Saudi Arabia, it was easy for them to initiate the Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai, an amateur politician looking for the slightest opportunities, into the project.
Governor El-Rufai in whose state the historic genocide took place decided to play a major role to please his masters. He took everything personal and was in an all-out war with the IMN. He even got himself initiated into the global Wahhabbi/Salafi club, the official Islam of CIA and founders of international terrorism. He even embraced the local Wahhabi dogs that blackmailed him during his campaign days by accusing him of being a Shiite by printing and spreading posters containing his picture when he visited Sheikh Zakzaky in Zaria after the 2014 genocide where he joined hands with them to fight a common enemy, The Shiites!.
During their attack on IMN, the Nigerian Army used Rocket Propelled Missiles, Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) and Automatic Machine Guns (AMG) on unarmed civilians made up of women, children and youth struggling to duck and hide with a lot of them trapped inside building roofs and soak away pits for days. Knowing fully well that they have committed crimes against humanity they decided to also kill all possible evidences.
Governor El-Rufai employed state machinery to help demolish the physical evidences of the army terror on IMN property and pretended nothing happened. He ordered the demolition of the residence of the leader of the IMN as well as the Husainiyya Islamic Center where even the rubbles was packed away to unknown destinations. The entire area was cordoned off and all blood stains were washed off the streets and they picked up bullets and bomb shells they used on IMN as revealed by the Amnesty International.
Being that they have killed just too many people, running to over a thousand within the 36 hours of operation and there were just too many people with bullet injuries that were summarily killed by the army, they now joined hands together again with governor El-Rufai to hide the casualty figures by burying them in a mass grave far away from the site of the genocide. There too they wanted to hide the incident to the public where the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai claimed before the National Human Rights Commission that he killed only seven people and the army also took along that track.
Revelations that included satellite footages released by the Amnesty International forced the Kaduna Governor to reveal that they buried 347 in a mass grave in Mando near Kaduna, about 100 kilometers away from the site of the genocide. This is just one of the mass graves they have revealed.
There wasn’t anything to show that all of those buried were actually dead. This was in total violation of all known law within and outside Nigeria. Despite this violation there was a statement released from the office of Governor El-Rufai claiming that what he did was in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention just to deceive the ignorant public.
They violated the provisions that have to do with identification of those buried, proximity of the mass grave, confirmation of cause of death and those that are actually dead, burial rights in accordance to religion and a mischievous burial in the middle of the night.
Governor El-Rufai went further to spread hate speech on the IMN and its leadership all in order to justify the crimes against humanity they have committed. He claimed that the IMN was an insurgent group without any reference or evidence; he claimed that the IMN as a religious group is not registered and he also declared the IMN as an unlawful society based on laws that are inferior to the Nigerian Constitution all to save his neck from crimes against humanity. This led to mass killings of IMN members by his sect members escorted by Police in Kaduna, Funtua, Kano, Jos and other places. IMN members were attacked and killed and their property destroyed while the state executives looked the other way.
The issues of mass grave, demolition of evidences, hate speeches and misuse of office to deceive the public on his criminal role on humanity are very substantial in getting him prosecuted at The Hague.
There is a study published by the Associated Press on 30 august 2016 in which it was revealed that 72 mass graves have been located in Iraq and Syria which resulted from activities of the American backed ISIS. The estimated number of bodies inside them based on excavation findings and memories of witnesses and survivors ranges from 5200 to 15,000. Majority of those mass graves are located in Iraq.
In Nigeria also there are mass graves that resulted from acts of state terrorism and genocide perpetrated by the Nigerian Buhari regime in Zaria in December 2015. The government was forced to confess illegally mass burying 347 IMN members that were victims of mass genocide it perpetrated. The IMN on the other hand has collected names and profiles of almost nine hundred missing persons since the pogrom.
Under Article 7 of the Rome Statutes, enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killings which may lead to existence of mass graves are unlawful and when perpetrated as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians may constitute a crime against humanity.
Similarly directing attacks at a civilian population or willful killing as perpetrated by President Buhari, General Burutai and Governor El-Rufai within an armed conflict may constitute war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statutes.
In addition and consistent with most religious and cultural practices, customary, international humanitarian law prohibits the despoliation and mutilation of the dead under Article 8(2) (b)xxi and 8 (2) (c) (ii) of the Rome Statute. Outrages against personal dignity in particular humiliating and degrading treatments are war crimes that can have adverse effects on investigation and identification efforts.
Building on these legal provisions international legal scholars believe that indecent disposal of corpses as done by Governor El-Rufai to IMN members in December 2015 amount to international crime against humanity itself. Hence, the International Criminal Court, ICC, must prosecute Governor El-Rufai for crimes against humanity he perpetrated against IMN.
Abdulmumin Giwa is a human rights activist.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.