MANY have described last Saturday’s clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as the Shi’ite sect, and men of the Nigerian Army as an avoidable crisis. While some said the Chief of Army Staff ought to have changed his route to avoid the Shi’ite protesters, others said the Shi’ite members should have allowed the Army boss to pass.
Be it as it may, the situation degenerated into a bloody clash between some soldiers and members of the Islamic group. The military explained that its action was meant to defend the Chief of Army Staff, who it said was the target of what it described as an assassination attempt. The Shi’ite group, on its part, saw the army’s action as premeditated genocide attack on them.
It was reported that about 10 Shi’ite members were killed that Saturday afternoon before heavy fighting broke out late in the night until the early hours of Sunday between men of the army and members of the Islamic movement of Nigeria also known as Shiite, following the surrounding of the house of leader of the movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, by troops.
The Nation gathered that the troops returned to El-Zakzaky’s residence in Gyallesu area of Zaria at about 11pm on that day to whisk their leader away. It was gathered that moves by the troops to arrest the leader of the movement were resisted by members. Residents of the area said heavy gunfire accompanied with chants by members of the movement were heard in the area for more than two hours in the night.
But a security source said the troops were there to forestall what would have been a public disturbance the following day. He said there was a report to the effect that members of the Shi’ite sect had been mobilised from other states to protest what happened on Saturday, and their plan was to descend on innocent members of the public and cause destructions of public property.