- The United States says it is in support of the recommendations of the White Paper that prescribed punishment for members of the military involved in the Zaria massacre
- The US spokesperson, John Kirby, however noted that it is concerned with the paper’s characterisation of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as an “insurgent group”.
- Kirby urges the Nigerian government to protect the right to freedom of worship as cherished Nigerian constitution.
The United States has called on the Nigerian government to hasten action on the recommendation of the White Paper on last year’s killings of the Shiites in Zaria, Kaduna state.
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According to the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN), John Kirby, the assistant secretary and department spokesperson of the bureau of public affairs, said the US was in support of the recommendations of the White Paper that members of the military involved in the killings be punished.
The US diplomat said: “On Dec. 5th, the Kaduna State Government in Nigeria issued a long-awaited White Paper on clashes last year that resulted in the deaths of a reported 348 civilians and one soldier.
“We fully agree with the White Paper’s recommendation that members of the military who were involved in the unlawful killing of civilians must be held accountable and punished appropriately."
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Kirby noted that as the one-year anniversary of the Zaria massacre approaches, the burden was on the Nigerian government to be diligent, transparent, and expeditious in following through on this recommendation of the paper.
He said the US was also concerned with the paper’s characterisation of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as an “insurgent group”.
The spokesperson said the U.S government would also want federal government heed to the December 2 decision of the High Court which ordered the release from prison of IMN leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife, within 45 days.
Kirby urged the Nigerian government to protect the right to freedom of worship as a stated in the Nigerian constitution.
He advocated for the different levels of government to evolve ways of non-violent engagement with all citizens, including minority religious groups.
Meanwhile, just days after the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria was declared a terrorist group by the Kaduna state government, more revelations have emerged about the activities of its members led by Ibraheem El-Zakzaky who is still in detention.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has revealed that the group actually carried out the assassination of some Islamic clerics and attacked the Emir of Zaria, Shehu Idris.