Zaria Shia Massacre: We Have No Regrets – Nigerian Army
The Nigerian Army said on Wednesday in Kaduna that it did not regret the clashes soldiers had with members of the Shi’ite Islamic sect during which scores of the Muslim group were killed.
The army argued that the Shi’ite members attempted to kill the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, noting that an assassination attempt on the COAS, was akin to attacking a sitting President.
The General Officer Commanding, One Mechanised Division,Kaduna, Maj. Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, who said this while addressing newsmen on the activities of officers and men under his command in 2015, said if the Shi’ite could attack the Chief of Army Staff, they could as well attack the nation’s President.
Oyebade, therefore, warned the Shi’ite and other Islamic sects against violence, declaring that the Army would not fold its arms to watch Nigerians being molested.
He said the Nigerian Army remained unapologetic over the clashes with the Shi’ite members.
He noted that the clashes were avoidable if the Shi’ite members had restrained themselves from attacking the convoy of the COAS.
Oyebade added that the Army would not allow any group, be it religion or otherwise to threaten the peace and stability of the people under his command.
He said the Army took the decision on the Shi’ite members in order to curtail what could have snowballed into another major security challenge like the Boko Haram.
According to the GOC, the Nigerian Army had no issue with the Shi’ites as long as they obey constituted authority.
The GOC said, “The so-called clash was avoidable, the Nigerian Army has no issue with the Shi’ites. They are like any sect in the land but as long as they obey the law of the land, there won’t be any problem.
“But if any group choose to challenge the authority of the land, it means they do not value the sanctity of life and the constitution of Nigeria.
“We have problem with those who choose to challenge the authority of the state and create a state within a state, who do not recognise the laws of the land. An attempt on COAS is akin to an attempt on a sitting President. So, in the cause of doing our work we make no apology to any group.”
Oyebade assured the people under his command (North-West zone)comprising Kaduna, Kano, Katsina,Kebbi, Niger, Kogi, Zamfara and Sokoto states, that the Army would do everything possible as mandated by the constitution to safeguard their lives and property at all times.
On Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, the GOC said 21 elements of the sect who had infiltrated the zone (North-west) had been arrested and handed over to the appropriate agency for further interrogation.
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