SaharaReporters has learned that the Nigerian army has finalized preparations to secretly exhume and cart away the bodies of hundreds of Shiite Muslims massacred by soldiers last December and buried in a mass grave in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Graphic showing a likely mass grave in Kaduna, Nigeria, in a satellite image and in a photograph taken by an Amnesty International researcher.

The military had dug a mass grave in the Mando area of Zaria after soldiers killed hundreds of Shiite members between December 12th and 14th, 2015. An Amnesty International report estimated that the troops massacred as many as 1,000 civilians during its repeated assault on the Shiite followers and the leadership of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). The victims of the carnage were then buried in a mass grave.

In addition, the soldiers shot and abducted the IMN leader, Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky, from his home. The Nigerian Army burnt the sheik’s home along with business and residential property owned by other Shiites in Zaria. Sheik Zakzaky has never been produced in public since soldiers took him away. 

SaharaReporters learned that a contingent of soldiers have been deployed to the site of the mass grave to keep guard at the site in an effort to prevent the uncovering of the hundreds of bodies buried there. A source added that the soldiers were securing the sight in order to facilitate the exhuming and taking away of many of the corpses tossed into the mass grave in an effort to cover up the army’s atrocities.

News of the military’s latest intent to cover up the massacre comes just one week after a controversial statement by the authorities of Kaduna State admitted that several hundred bodies were buried in the area.

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