Nigeria seeks new rapprochement with militants, Shia

Nigerian President Buhari wants fresh rapprochement with delta militants, Shia in a new year message

Nigeria seeks new rapprochement with militants, Shia

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has called on militants in the country's oil-rich delta region to embrace peace and shun pipeline bombings that seriously harmed the local economy in 2016.

“We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table,” Buhari said in a new year message to his country.

The president also, for the first time, sought rapprochement with the country's Shia Muslims whose mass killings by security forces in December 2015 - following disagreements with the army - and attempts to proscribe them dominated much of last year.

Apparently responding to Shia’s insistence on the release of their detained chief and nonstop condemnation of his administration, Buhari called on the Shia Muslims to embrace peace, respect the law and not be ‘islands by themselves’.

“At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law,” Buhari added.

But the Shia have fired back at the president, saying they have never been violent but have been victims of state repression.

“Buhari's statement (with regards to security agencies) proves correct what all human rights organizations have been saying about the monumental savagery and gross inhumanity of Nigerian security forces against (our) members,” Harun El-Binawi, a top Shia Muslim, said in a statement on Sunday.

The delta militants have not responded to the president’s statement.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Ocak 2017, 12:45