The Army continues to insist that the Shiites attempted to kill Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai while the Shiites have denied the claim, adding that soldiers killed sect members with impunity.
A military spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, accused the sect of provoking the confrontation. “The Shiite sect, on the orders of their leader, Ibrahim Al Zakzaky, today afternoon in Zaria attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff while [he was] on his way to pay homage [to] the Emir of Zazzau and attend the passing out parade of 73 regular recruits intake of Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria,” said the military spokesman.
He added: “The sect numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tires. They refused all entreaties to disperse and then started firing and pelting the convoy with dangerous objects.
“The barricade was obviously a deliberate attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff and members of his entourage while on a legitimate official assignment as special guest of honor at the passing out parade which has earlier been widely publicized.”
Colonel Usman justified the military’s action to repel the attack. “The troops responsible for the safety and security of the Chief of Army Staff, on hearing explosion[s] and firing, were left with no choice than to defend him and the convoy at all cost as well as open up the barricaded road for law abiding citizens. This is in line with the Nigerian Army Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated from any individual or groups and should not be allowed to repeat itself. The Chief of Army escaped unhurt and continued with his duties.”
The Shiites’ media contact, Ibrahim Usman, dismissed the Army’s claims, asserting that soldiers carried out an unprovoked and deadly attack on sect members.
“At noon [yesterday], armed soldiers were seen in the precincts of Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, where members of the Islamic Movement were to carry out the hoisting of flag to usher in the new month of Maulud, the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam. [A] similar occasion was previously carried out on the same spot with free traffic flow under the supervision of the Movement’s traffic warders,” said the sect’s spokesman.
He added that when some male sect members met the soldiers to ascertain their mission, the troops “took position and opened fire indiscriminately [and] killed many.”
“Based on the foregoing, we believe that the military had pre-planned this and had acted according to their mischievous script. They came with their cameramen, videotaping the whole incidence while it lasted,” said the sect.
Mr. Usman denied any attempt by sect members to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff at the orders of the Movement’s leader.
He stated, “Why was it that there were no casualty on the side of the military, if it were to be an assassination attempt by Kuka Sheka? What happened was never a clash, but a continuation of act[s] of terrorism by the Nigerian military on the Movement, as was the case in the past. We are not surprised by this action, as there were reports spread by the same military the night before that the Shi’ites were to avenge their dead by hired thugs on Friday in Gabari, a village in Zaria.
“The same military also spread rumor[s] that the Shi’ites had killed soldiers, all in [an] attempt to justify [yesterday’s] dastardly act.”
The spokesman stated that sect members could not have planned an attack against soldiers when the “2014 massacre of 34 members of the Islamic Movement, including three of Sheikh Zakzaky’s children by the military, the attempt on Sheikh Zakzaky’s convoy by the same military are still on our mind.
He warned that no government could flourish with a trigger-happy military and security operatives “trained by CIA and Mossad.” He urged the Muhammadu Buhari administration to identify and punish the perpetrators of the attack, or risk the perception that “the government is condoning violence and terrorism on innocent citizens.”
Source: Sahara Reporters
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.