Interview with Dr. Nusaiba Ibrahim Zakzaky, daughter of Nigerian Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, in Dubai to discuss the fate of her father
The following is a rough transcript of the interview:
Press TV: Please tell us what you know about the situation and what you know about the fate of your father?
Zakzaky: Well right now, today they called me. I am not completely aware of everything that happened outside because I am only in contact with my parents mostly and the people that are outside the house they cannot really communicate with us. So when my parents called me today, my sister called me at around 12 here (Dubai time) and she told me that they have all been shot.
Press TV: So your parents have been wounded?
Press TV: Have they been able to get any medical care or have they just been left on their own or tell me about overall their fate?
Zakzaky: They have been left alone for a really long time because now it has been about six hours since they called me and I tried to call people to get them to try to help if they are around there because I asked if there was anybody that helped them and they said no and they have all been shot and there was nothing they could do.
So I tried to contact so many people that I know so that somebody could help them but later, maybe an hour or two ago I was informed by Seyed Masoud, he works in Commission, he told me that they were transferred now to the barrack and they are going to get Islamic Human Rights some medical attention hopefully but they are not sure exactly.
Press TV: And what do you know exactly about the incident itself? Were you able to get any information from your parents about that or because of their current state were they not able to talk about it in detail?
Zakzaky: You mean what started everything or what is happening at the time?
Press TV: Yes what started it?
Zakzaky: Yes, I really was not able to …, I only asked my brother. He said he was there when everything happened. He said he was there when it started. There was supposed to be some ceremony in Zaria of the army and that some people did say some slogans to them but that was it. He did not see anybody attack them or anything like that and they were there where the people were. It is not like they found these army people and did something to them. They were present near Hussainiyyah and that is where we do some programs there.
Press TV: And the military from what we understand surrounded the Hussainiyyah and started opening fire. Is that what you understood also?
Zakzaky: Yes, that is what I was told. They surrounded it and they blew up both gates and they later set it on fire after killing so many people.
Press TV: Do you have any idea how many people have been killed?
Zakzaky: I honestly don’t. Yesterday I was told that maybe 450.
Press TV: Four hundred and fifty people?
Zakzaky: Yes, 450. But today I was told that about 300 bodies are in the hospital and they believe that probably about one thousand people are dead now.
Press TV: One thousand people were killed?
Zakzaky: Yes, that is what they believe but I am not sure about the number.
Press TV: And what about other supporters? Can you tell me about the current situation? Has the military left that area now, do you know, and what about other followers of your father? Has anyone been arrested or is anyone even left in that area? What do you know about that aspect of it?
Zakzaky: In that area, I do not think. If they found anybody they would kill them. They killed everyone like there are pictures in front of our house and there were just bodies everywhere. There are people around but it is only people that are already inside that area. They do not allow anyone in. Maybe they allow people out, I am not sure, but they do not allow people in and there are all dead bodies in front of the house.
And they have taken some people and some of them they took them somewhere and they shot them. There was a survivor that I spoke to and he said for a while he was hallucinating. He did not know what was happening, maybe he was given something. They were trying to ask him some questions and he said the other people that they took with him they shot all of them. He managed to crawl. It was like in the middle of the forest. He tried to crawl to the street. Some people found him and they asked him if it was like [the attack by] armed robbers and he just said yes so that they could help him but everyone else that was with him is dead.
Press TV: And what is it about what your father stands for, what he is teaching and has taught that would bring so much enmity, hatred towards him from the Nigerian military?
Zakzaky: Can you repeat that please?
Press TV: I said what is it about the teachings of your father, what is it that they fear? Why would they have such enmity, such hatred for this Muslim group in Nigeria?
Zakzaky: I honestly …, I mean the only thing that I could say is because my dad is trying to get people to understand because in Nigeria people are just oppressed, people do not have rights, the government does whatever they want to do, they have the right to, as you can, see kill anybody and nobody says anything and he is just trying to get people to understand that they have rights, that they should fight for their rights and whoever, I guess, is in power and wants to remain that way does not want that to happen because if people understand that they have rights and they have a choice and they do not have to live the way they are living right now, maybe their power is threatened.
Press TV: Do you think that at the end of the day the Nigerian government will be held responsible for these crimes?
Zakzaky: I doubt it. I hope so but they are never held responsible.
When they killed three of my brothers, I think, I thought like they were hoping that people will retaliate or do some inappropriate stuff or harm people or even attack the military but we did not do any of those things and I remember my dad was so proud of how we held ourselves. We did not attack anybody, we did ask for them to take responsibility for their actions but we did not want to be violent but they are fighting us as if we have guns. We are not armed but they are shooting us as if we are armed. They are shooting us as if they are fighting an army. And of course I do not know if they will be held responsible. They have never been held responsible for anything they do. They take people out and kill them and nobody cares and there are videos and evidence of everything.
Press TV: What about the lack of mainstream media attention to this massacre that has taken place in Nigeria? Are you surprised at the lack of coverage coming out of these mainstream media?
Zakzaky: Yes, it is shocking. We have been here for a very long time, more than 30 years but nobody ever knows the military has been killing people for a very long time, they have been killing our people for a very long time but nobody cares. Can you see the attention that Boko Haram got? Everybody, all of a sudden, everyone in the world, everyone is talking to us about Boko Haram but these people … have been killing their people but nobody says anything about that. It is just unfortunate.