Nigerian soldiers accused of killing 18 civilians

18 civilians killed by soldiers at a procession marking the annual festival of Ashura

Nigerian soldiers accused of killing 18 civilians

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigerian soldiers have been accused of allegedly shooting dead 18 civilians in their custody in northeastern Potiskum, the same town where troops had reportedly fired at a procession marking the annual festival of Ashura.

"They arrested innocent people when they (soldiers) went to their houses in the morning on Wednesday, arresting 13," Mallam Mustapha Potiskum, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in the area, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

"Then later at sunset, they (soldiers) went to another place near the same place where the 13 people had been arrested and took away another five people. That night, all those people were killed and soldiers claimed to have caught Boko Haram members but it is not true. It is just a cover up for what they did," he said.

Potiskum said that the soldiers had given orders that markets, abattoir and cattle market should be closed.

"All these places were closed. But the soldiers went to residential [area] nearby the central market in town and arrested 13 people. Before sunset they went to the same place and caught additional 5 and at night they shot them and took the corpses to hospital," he said.

"They are trying to give the impression that it was Boko Haram members that attacked us but it is not true. We knew this is a subterfuge to avoid probe," Potiskum said.

Yushau Mailafia, another resident of the town, confirmed the Wednesday incident.

"Those killed are innocent people who were picked up in their houses," Mailiafia told AA.

He said that the five people who were arrested at sunset were just emerging from the Maghrib prayers when they were rounded up.

"Now, all of them are dead. Their corpses are riddled with bullets. It is unprovoked. It is wicked," he said.

AA tried to reach army spokesman Olajide Laleye for comment, but he has not responded to a text message by AA to speak on the incident.

The allegation came shortly after troops reportedly fired at a Shiite procession marking the annual festival of Ashura following a suicide bombing in Potiskum. At least 29 people were reportedly killed in the blast and the shooting.

The military has kept mum on Monday incident, raising fears of increasing extrajudicial murders and other acts of impunity as Nigeria battles a five-year violent insurgency by Boko Haram its northeast.

In August, at least 35 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria were killed allegedly by bullets fired at a Shiite rally marking the Al-Quds Day in northwestern Zaria town.

The Nigerian army has faced widespread criticism for alleged human rights abuses, although the country was quick to dismiss the allegations as totally false or exaggerated.

Last Mod: 07 Kasım 2014, 11:04
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