A survivor of the horrific Zaria genocide, Karima Muhammad has described how Nigerian soldiers finished off the injured victims of their brutality during the Zaria pogrom of December, 2015.
Miss Karima, who was residing at Hanwa low cost GRA with her parents, was a student of Federal Government Girls College Zaria at the time. She said she survived the attacks by the whiskers having been marked to be “finished off” even in the mortuary that she and others killed by the soldiers were taken to, when they discovered that she was still alive. “I clearly heard when the officer instructed his soldiers to finish me off,” she said.
On that eventful day, Karima said she went to the Hussainiyyah quite early for their weekly lessons, which holds in the mornings every weekend. “At about noon that day,” she said, “soldiers came to Hussainiyyah and met quite many of us there. They opened fire and killed some people.” According to her, they maintained a siege of Hussainiyyah from that time till early hours of Sunday the 13th of December. “Nobody was allowed to go in or get out,” she explained.
“That was how we spent the night, unsure of what would befall us.” She said they heard sounds of shooting in the direction of the side gate and the front gate. They therefore had to move towards the back gate, along with many other trapped brothers and sisters.
“Suddenly, we were face to face with the armed soldiers, and before we could retreat back into the premises of the Hussainiyyah, the brothers we were standing with dropped dead.” She further explained, “I was left standing with another sister in shock. Then they got closer, and without warning, they shot us.”
As they fell to the ground, the soldiers surrounded them and started their verbal assaults. “They removed our veil, beat the hell out of us and poured cold water on us.”
Karima said she received four gun shots, on her breast, the abdomen, the pelvis and the leg. “The leg was broken and I was bleeding,” she said. The other sister with her also suffered similar fate as she was shot on the thigh, foot and her waist.
As if that was not bad enough, the soldiers next started asking them silly questions and mocking them. “If you answer them, they will beat you and say you lied to them. If you ignore their questions they still beat you,” she explained. She said the soldiers mocked her that they have captured Sheikh Zakzaky and the wife. They asked her the whereabouts of her parents but when she told them that her father was killed, they only tortured her the more.
“When they saw I was bleeding profusely, the officer said they should finish me off. But they didn’t. They simply allowed me to bleed to death, until when they came to collect the corpses to the mortuary, then I was taken along, because they thought I was dead too.”
Karima said even in the mortuary, when it was discovered that there were signs of life in her, the officer again instructed that she should be finished off. However, they didn’t and she was later transferred to the Emergency room of the hospital where she was resuscitated.
She said she could not estimate the number of people killed in Hussainiyyah, but she knows they packed them in two large military trucks. “Because they thought I was dead at the time, we were dumped in two large trucks to the mortuary. We filled those two large trucks, ” she explained. “Those I saw by my own eyes and I was among. I wouldn’t know whether they packed more after us.”
Karima has vowed to continue being a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in spite of all these. “It has only strengthened my resolve,” she concluded.