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Medical Team Tell Their Story: We were Killed Trying To Save Lives

The Medical Team of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria otherwise called ISMA had the floor on the 15th day of the daily Free Zakzaky Sit Out at the Unity Fountain Abuja to feature how their members coped with thousands of victims of the horrendous attacks during the Zaria massacre until they themselves became the victims.

ISMA revealed how the Nigerian Army massacred several of their members, while on duty in both Hussainiyyah and Gyellesu, the major sites of the genocide.

Speaking on behalf of ISMA, Dr. Mansur explained that several members of the group were burned alive by the Army while they were saving the lives of those injured during the December 2015 Massacre in Zaria. Some others were shot over their patients as they battled to save their lives before finishing the patients off. He described the situation they were made to go through as horrendous and condemnable. According to Dr. Mansur, the actions of the Nigerian Army are unethical, condemnable and contrary to all known international conventions. “Even in war situations, health workers are spared, wounded persons are spared. But not by the Nigerian Army,” Dr. Mansur lamented.

Dr. Mansur further explained how the Nigerian army blocked access to healthcare for days throughout the duration of the massacre and beyond. He said, “the military didn’t allow not even the International Red Cross to come in and provide basic life saving first aid.”

“As a result, we had a high toll in the share of victims.” Among the notable victims was the Head of the Medical Team (ISMA), Dr. Mustapha Umar Saed, who was a very senior medical practitioner.

When he turned to the activities usually carried out by ISMA, he said besides provision of basic medical services, they also render humanitarian services to not just members of the Movement, but to the public as well. He said that they provide basic services in many hospitals free of charge during strikes in public hospitals. He added that ISMA has done a lot of activities for which it has received several letters of commendation from both governmental and nongovernmental groups for its general contributions to and community services. Some of the such activities include massive blood donation programs that make the Movement the largest single blood donor group in the country, provision of emergency medical services at points of disasters, partaking in immunization and sanitation campaigns among others.

In his own contribution, a Chief Nursing Officer, Mal Saminu Muhammad also expressed dismay over the unfortunate way in which the Nigeria Army violated the Geneva Convention on Medical Immunity by murdering innocent health workers during the Zaria massacre.

He explained that article 19 of the convention prohibits attack on medical facilities such as hospitals and ambulances and anything serving as an improvise. He complained that the army extra-judicially killed personnel of ISMA and did away with its ambulances and other facilities in gross violation of the convention.

Some of the faces of victims who were medical personnel were conspicuously displayed in banners and posters.

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