Fresh revelations are emerging on the clash last Saturday between men of the Nigerian Army and members of the Shi’ite Movement of Nigeria led by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky. The fresh details coming out from the incident makes it look like it was a massacre by the soldiers and less like a clash.
So far, we are yet to see display of weapons used by the sect members. The Army claims that only seven people were killed but the sect insists that the dead are in thousands.
Yesterday, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Headquarters 1 Division, Kaduna, Major. Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, said that Zakzaky and his wife are safe and in protective custody and would soon be allowed to speak to his followers.
On his part, the chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, whose convoy was reportedly restricted by the sect from passing through Zaria leading to the clash, said he was only saved by the grace of God. The Army has already petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the sect.
But the evidence on ground seem to show that at the least, the Army applied excessive use of force on the sect members, including on Sheikh Zakzaky himself, with a photo surfacing showing him bloodied after he was reportedly shot. The shrines of the sect members were also destroyed by the soldiers.
Up till this moment, there has been no word from the presidency on the killings of the sect members or the clash in general with the public worried about the consequence if Sheikh Zakzaky dies in the custody of the Army.
It would be recalled that the death of Mohammed Yusuf, the then leader of Boko Haram, in the hand of Police officers led to the extreme radicalisation of the Boko Haram movement.