Shiite/Chief of Army Staff motorcade clash in Zaria; some feared dead and many injured
By; Sani Aliyu, Zaria.
Some members of the Shiite sect group were feared dead and many injured following a clash with the motorcade of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai today in Zaria when they blocked access roads at PZ area of Sabon Gari Local Govt of Kaduna state.
Eye witnesses said the sect members blocked the road between the PZ and the Hussainiyah abode and gathering headquarters of the Sheik Ibrahim Alzazaky led sect members and the motorcade of the Army Chief was prevented from gaining access and proceed to the Nigerian Depot after paying a courtesy call to the Emir of Zazzau’s palace.
Buratai who was in Zaria to grace the passing out parade (POP) of the 73 Regular Intake of the Depot, Nigerian Army was said to have been stopped at Sokoto road which infuriated the security details attached to him.
In an attempt to clear the barricade, the sect members resisted and that led to the clash with the Army Chief’s security detail.
Addressing journalists inside the Depot, Nigerian Army after the Passing Out ceremony, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, acting Director Army Public Relations said the attack on the Army Chief was an assassination attempt on the Army Chief and necessary steps were taken to protect his life. He assured that further actions would be taken on the issue
Similarly, in a statement issued later by Kukasheka and made available to New Nigerian, he said the Shiite Sect on the orders of their leader, Ibrahim Alzak-zaky 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.
“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.
“We wish to implore all Nigerians to continue to be law abiding and remain conscious of other people’s right to life, freedom of movement and passage. The Chief of Army escaped unhurt and continued with his duties” the statement asserted.