The Nigerian Army has claimed that an alleged assassination attempt on the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai, by the Shiite sect, led to the clash between soldiers and members of the group.
At least three people died following the clash, according to the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement on Saturday.
Usman claimed that the members of the sect attacked Buratai’s convoy on the orders of its leader, Ibrahim Alzak-zaky on Saturday afternoon in Zaria 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.
“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 publicized.
“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.”
Colonel Usman implored all Nigerians to continue to be law abiding and remain conscious of other people’s right to life, freedom of movement and passage.