A London-based Islamic NGO said it was saddened and appalled by the deadly attack on Tuesday targeting Shia Muslims commemorating the Islamic holy day of Ashura in the city of Potiskum, Nigeria.
“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,” said Islamic Human Rights Commission Chairman Massoud Shadjareh.
We urge the Nigerian government to launch an immediate investigation into the Potiskum attack, particularly the claims of Nigerian military involvement, said an IHRC press release.
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 Islamic NGO added.
The bombing took place at approximately 11:15 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 the press release quoting local sources, 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 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.