Amnesty International says Nigeria’s army killed hundreds of men, women and children from a minority Shiite Muslim sect last December.
The group said more than 350 people were believed to have been unlawfully killed by the military between December 12 and 14.
Amnesty director, Netsanet Belay, said: “It is clear that the military not only used unlawful and excessive force against men, women and children, unlawfully killing hundreds, but then made considerable efforts to try to cover-up these crimes.”
Amnesty said it carried out research in February 2016 during which 92 people were interviewed, including alleged victims and their relatives, eyewitnesses, lawyers and medical staff.
The Nigerian army has denied the claims.
A spokesman for the military, Colonel Sani Usman, said the Amnesty report lacked credibility.
Colonel Usman said the report was a hasty, one-sided and biased report aimed at arriving at a predetermined objective.
“The NGO should understand that Nigeria is a sovereign nation and it should be respected,” an army spokesman said in a statement.
“Already, a judicial inquiry is in place in addition to investigation by the National Human Rights Commission. The NGO’s hasty report – if true – is against the principles of the Amnesty International itself as it is preemptive and judgemental.
“They must allow the judicial commission of inquiry and all other relevant agencies to complete and submit their reports before jumping to conclusion.
“Let the NGO search its conscience please.”
Amnesty’s report relates to events in the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna State where the Army has said the Islamic Movement in Nigeria tried to assassinate its Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, when members of the sect blocked his convoy.
The groups is making the claims, a week after the Kaduna State government said no fewer than 347 dead bodies were given a mass burial after the violence clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army which occurred in Zaria on December 12, 2015.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Lawal, gave the testimony when he appeared before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the State Government to investigate the cause of the incident.
Hattip to Channels TV, The Scoop