IHRC is saddened and appalled by the deadly attack yesterday targeting Shia Muslims commemorating the Islamic holy day of Ashura in the city of Potiskum, Nigeria.
So far at least 29 people are understood to have been killed and approximately 80 wounded in the suicide bombing of a religious procession and subsequent gunfire from soldiers who arrived at the scene. About half of the dead are believed to be children.
The bombing took place at approximately 11:15am when the suicide bomber, masquerading as a participant, detonated his explosives in the midst of the procession. Reports say that another bomber’s explosive charges failed to go off and he was arrested by police.
Another attack on an Ashura procession by a mob of men in the north-western city of Sokoto left several people injured.
According to local sources who have contacted the IHRC the finger of suspicion is being pointed at the Nigerian military, sections of which have recently been implicated in other attacks against Shia Muslims and those sympathetic to the hugely popular Islamic Movement led by Muallim Ibrahim Zakzaky.
A recent IHRC investigation into the attack by troops on a peaceful Al-Quds Day march in Zaria in July by concluded that sections of the Nigerian army are out of control and may be acting outside the remit of the central government. Other human rights groups have recently documented gruesome atrocities carried out by Nigerian soldiers against alleged members of the Boko Haram movement.
We urge the Nigerian government to launch an immediate investigation into the Potiskum attack, particularly the claims of Nigerian military involvement.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “The allegations of military involvement in this massacre add to a growing list of atrocities by Nigeria’s armed forces. We urge the Nigerian government to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation into the Potiskum attacks and bring its perpetrators to justice.”
Notes to Editors:
Photos showing the procession and the aftermath of the bombing are available. Please call Nadia on +4420 8904 4222
IHRC’s report into the army’s massacre of protestors in Zaria in July is available to view online at: https://ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/11219-nigeria-report-the-zaria-massacres-and-the-role-of-the-military
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222