The United States government on Friday reacted to the killings by Nigerian security forces of Shiite protesters in Abuja on Tuesday.
The U.S. government called on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a thorough investigation into the murders and urged restraint on all sides.
“The United States Embassy is concerned by the deaths resulting from clashes between Nigerian security forces and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in areas surrounding Abuja,” the Embassy said in a statement sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC.
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“We urge Government of Nigeria authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the events and to take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for violations of Nigerian law. We urge restraint on all sides”.
Shiites took to the streets on Tuesday after rumors began to circulate that their incarcerated leader Ibraheem El-zakzaky had died in detention.
Security forces reacted ruthlessly and shot dead many protesters.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a Sunni member has been accused of fighting a personal religious war against a rival group, and of helping Saudi Arabia fight a proxy war with Iran in Nigeria.
The army shot dead hundreds of Shiites in December 2015 just months after Mr Buhari took office. The Army claimed the Shiites who were having a religious event in the northern state of Kaduna had attempted to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Buratai.
Amnesty international has said the Army used excessive force in a little dispute and killed close to 400 Shiites.
The leader of the Shiites in Nigeria El-zakzaky was arrested along with his wife. Despite court orders to free him, the Nigerian government has refused to obey them, prompting protests from his followers and then suppressing them with more force and bloodshed.