Leader of the Shiia in Nigeria, Ibrahim El Zak Zaky has explained that personnel of the Nigeria Army killed unspecified number of his members without any provocation on Saturday in Zaria, Kaduna State.
El Zak Zaky in a statement signed by one Isah K, stated that the army had misinformed Nigerians and the world about the massacre it carried out rather claiming it was an assassination attempt on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Burutai.
The Shi’ia said its members were allegedly attacked by soldiers during a ceremony meant to celebrate the new month and birth of Prophet Muhammad. He said an unspecified number of persons were killed in the attack.
“The claim that the COAS narrowly escaped assassination as a result of attack from Muslim brothers and Sisters of the Islamic Movement is a blatant lie.
“The claim raises series of questions in the mind of right thinking people.
“Members of the movement who were unarmed were gathered for a ceremony at their Husainiyyah base, to change the flag on the dome of the building to herald the beginning of the month of Rabiul/Auwal- the birth month of the Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad.
“Any excuse given by the military as reason for besieging Hussainiyyah and firing for hours, leading to the death of yet to be specified number of people, is considered a lie of the decade.”
But Col. Sani Usman, spokesman of the army, had issued this statement: “The Shiia sect on the orders of their leader, Ibrahim Alzak-zaky today afternoon in Zaria attacked the convoy of the chief of army staff while on his way to pay homage on the Emir of Zazzau and attend the passing out parade of 73 regular recruits intake of depot Nigerian army, Zaria,” he said in a statement.
“The sect numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tyres. 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 honour at the passing out parade which has earlier been widely publicised.
“The troops responsible for the safety and security of the chief of army staff on hearing explosion 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 behaviour 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.”