The Kaduna state government and the Nigerian Army, on Monday, gave different figures of corpses that were buried during the December 15, 2015 clash between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Army in Zaria.
The state government at the hearing of the commission of inquiry into the bloody massacre affirmed that at least 347 persons were buried after the clash, while the army, on the hand, claimed that just a few corpses were buried.
While testifying before the Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba’s Commission, the Army refused to release the number of corpses that it handed over to the state government for burial.
Balarabe Abbas Lawal, the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government, had in an earlier sitting of the commission said that the number of the corpses was 347.
In the same vein, the state Director General of Interfaith, Muhammad Namadi Musa, had disclosed that he supervised the burial of the unknown corpses and that the exercise was done from 12:am midnight till 5:00 am in the morning.
“On 13th December, I received a phone call from the SSG to come to government house after which I was directed to go to Zaria to find out the number of corpses and how they would be buried.”
“At the Nigerian Depot, the SSG directed me to meet with one Major Ogundare regarding the corpses there. After introducing myself, he refused to let me know the number; but later on, the SSG called me and told me the number.”
The Nigerian army, however, insisted that the corpses were not 347 but only a ‘few’.
Speaking at the commission on Monday, Major Uche Agulana, a medical officer from the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, said that he handed over a few corpses to the representative of the state government for mass burial.
When pressed further, Agulana stated that he had no record of the death as he was too busy ‘trying to save lives that were brought into the hospital.’
The General Officer Commanding the One Mechanized Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, also told the commission that the Shiite group had attacked soldiers with deadly weapons.
This, his said, prompted his men into action in order to restore law and order in the city.
Asked why he didn’t involve the police before entering into the compound of the Shiite sect, considering that it was a civil matter, the GOC stated that the police doesn’t have enough manpower to deal with the Shiites.
He further noted that Zaria is under his jurisdiction, hence it was his duty to protect the city and maintain law and order.