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Army-Shiites Clash: Army Chief Defends Officials’ Action


Tukur BurataiThe Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has said that the Nigerian Army acted within the law in the clash with the Shiite sect members in Zaria over the weekend.

Lieutenant General Buratai spoke at a meeting with officials of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs on Thursday.

He said that the incident could have been avoided if the sect members heeded earlier warnings to allow for free movement.

The Army Chief described the action of the sect members as an infringement on national security.

Some officials of the Nigerian Army had over the weekend clashed with some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shiites, who were on procession in Zaria, Kaduna State.

After the clash that led to the death of some persons, the Army blamed the Shiites for the outcome of the incident while the Shiites have also blamed the Army authorities for the loss of lives in Zaria and called on the international community and human rights groups to probe the killings.

A spokesman for the Army Colonel Sani Usman, referred to the alleged act by the Shiites as an attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff but which he escaped unhurt.

Countering the military’s claim, the President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa, told Channels Television that the soldiers killed 500 of the group’s members and destroyed the house of their leader, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky, located in Gyellesu area in Zaria. The group claimed they were on a peaceful procession.

To ensure peace returns to the state, the Governor of the State, Nasir El-Rufai on Thursday banned all forms of processions and rallies.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Nigeria has also set up a Special Investigations Panel into the clash.

It said the setting up of the panel was sequel to the complaints received from the Nigerian Army and concerned citizens on the unfortunate incident which led to the loss of lives and damage of property.

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