The U.S. has joined urgent calls for an investigation into an alleged massacre of Shiite Muslims by Nigerian troops, but the country's military is calling the incident an act of self defense, NBC News reported.
The bloodshed began over the weekend. Nigeria's military claimed that Shiites had attacked the Chief of Army staff's convoy in Zaria, located in the country's north, in an apparent assassination attempt.
It said soldiers had "no choice" but to defend the convoy "at all cost," adding in a statement two days later that the "loss of lives" was "most unfortunate."
The Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, or IMN, rejected that account. A statement attributed to IMN spokesman said "about a thousand" members of the sect had been massacred.