Zaria Massacre: When Military Operatives Went Loose

After spending three days in a coma and bedridden for seven months, Yusuf Abdulkarim thought he had slim chances of survival.

Twenty-eight years old Abdulkarim was a victim of a 2015 military attack following a feud between the military officers and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Zaria, Kaduna State.

READ: Death and Rape — Through the Eyes of Surviving Minors in Zaria

In an episode of the Burbushin Rikici series by HumAngle, the victims of the clash narrated how they survived the attack that claimed their loved ones.

According to Abdulkarim, on that fateful day, he had received a call from his friend, informing him that the residence of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Al Zakzaky had come under siege after soldiers raided the house, killing many and demolishing the building. 

“I immediately left to the scene, where I witnessed in horror, soldiers shooting sporadically in cold-blooded murder,” Abdulkarim. “Dead bodies littered the place. I recognised one of my classmates, Ibrahim, but I couldn’t save him.”

READ: ‘Bandits Bathed, Partied In Our Houses Before Pillaging And Destroying Valuables’ — Victims Of Lavun Banditry Still Recount Ordeals

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He added: “Some team of doctors who are also members of our movement tried rescuing people but they were prevented by the soldiers. The soldiers came prepared and you could see it in the way they stationed themselves at various angles.

“I was also shot in the leg. They thought I was dead so they moved me alongside others to the mortuary. It took them a long time to realize that I was alive. I had to spend 7 months in the hospital afterwards.”

Abdulkarim revealed that despite spending such a long time in the hospital, he had to be referred to Iran in 2017 through a charity support organisation under the aegis of IMN. 

Jibril Tukur, who said he was El Zakzaky’s neighbour, tried rescuing his friend who was shot during the unrest but ended up getting caught by the soldiers. 

READ: Mamanaye: A War Survivor Whose Husband Was Sent on No-return Journey by Soldiers in Borno. She Also Lost Her 6 Children

“They caught me rescuing my friend and shot me. Like many others, I was bedridden for 10 months,” he said. 

Abdulra’uf Hudu, another victim, said after he was shot alongside five of his friends, they managed to escape to a building for sanctuary but ended up getting trapped in a building that was set ablaze by the soldiers. 

“And I don’t know how I survived that fire,” Hudu noted. “It’s a miracle.”

Another victim, 52-year-old Ahmed Musa, said he was in Zaria with his family on an annual vacation when the crisis broke out. 

Musa said he lost a nephew, Ali, who was shot in the neck. He also had to witness a gory scene of arson.


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