Government Probes Soldiers-Shiites Clash

Following the deadly fracas between members of the Shiite Islamic group in Zaria, Kaduna State and some soldiers on Friday, security agencies are investigating what could have led to the unfortunate incident.

At a press conference on Saturday, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria known as the Shi’ites sect, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, described in graphic terms how soldiers slaughtered some members of his sect, including three of his sons after arresting them alive.

The clash which took place on Friday started about 4:30pm when members of the Shiite were on a peaceful procession towards Hussaniyya situated on the Sokoto-Zaria Road, GRA, Zaria, to mark Qudus Day .

According to the sect leader, the movement had a total of 16 corpses in their custody while nine corpses were taken to the teaching hospital in the night, apart from his three children on Friday night.

Security sources in Abuja at the weekend that government was especially disturbed because Shiites are fundamentally against the Boko Haram terrorists in the country and its leader Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky has been very vocal against the preaching of the fundamentalists.

It would be recalled that members of the Islamic sect were on Friday embarked on annual peaceful procession to mark annual Quds Day to sympathise with the plight of Palestenians under Israeli occupation and protest against the continued bombardment of Gaza by Israeli military when a convoy of soldiers were prevented from passing through.

Although the group later allowed the soldiers’ passage, things however, degenerated when in the course of the passage, several gun shots were fired from within the crowd.

According to reports, the development infuriated the soldiers who then opened fire. At the end of the encounter nine persons were reported dead while many others were wounded including soldiers.

The source said the ongoing investigation is therefore, to determine those who fired the initial shot at the soldiers; if other mischief makers hid within the crowd to cause trouble between the military and the sect; and if the trouble was triggered to set Zakzaky up for possible attack in the mayhem that was bound to follow.

Top government officials and military authorities are worried that public figures and religious leaders speaking up against the atrocities of Boko Haram are being targeted in recent times.
General Muhammadu Buhari, Shehu Dahiru Bauchi were also targeted in two separate bombing incidents in Kaduna during the week while Sheik Adam Albani a vociferous critic of Boko Haram was also murdered earlier.

The source also expressed the unhappiness in government and military circles about the propensity of a section of Nigerians to blame members of the security agencies whenever issues arise and wondered why these elements will rather not appreciate the efforts of those who are daily laying down their lives to protect fellow citizens.

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