Elzakzaky, wife alive in protective custody – Nigerian Army
By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Kaduna
The Nigerian Army said the spiritual leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria otherwise known as Shi’ite, Sheik Ibrahim Yaqub Elzakzaky and his wife Zeenat are alive, in protective custody in a facility and would be given the opportunity to speak to his followers soon while recounting troop’s ordeal with the sect members on Saturday in Zaria.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade made this disclosure this evening at the Division Headquarters, Kaduna while briefing journalist on the incident.
Oyebade said based on preliminary security reports, the Army deployed its men and the advance team of the Army Chief to the Sokoto road, Sabon Gari, Zaria where the Shi’ite members blocked, and cleared it for easy access for the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. But before the arrival of the Army Chief, the Shiite members re-blocked the road.
The GOC said it took a while, and despite all entreaties to the Shi’ite members to allow the COAS and his motorcade pass, they refused. After acting within rules of engagement when they noticed that Buratai’s life is threatened, the Army cleared the obstacles for him to pass.
While moving, the sect members threw all sorts of things including stones using catapults, cudgels, sachet water, sticks among others as weapons at the motorcade of the Army Chief which infuriated his security details.
According to him, after the Army Chief’s passage to the Emir of Zazzau’s Palace enrout the Depot, Nigerian Army, the sect members started mobilizing members from various destination, attacked security agents and facilities. In the process of protecting lives and facilities, he said the Army exchanged fire with the sect and resulted in casualties on both sides.
Oyebade said specifically the Hussainiya Headquarters of the group, Dembo road burial ground and Gyalesu residence of Elzakzaky were the three flash points used as mobilizing base and convergence units of the members. It was to these three places that security agents took on them, arrested and took to safety, Elzakzaky and his wife Zeenat today at about 9:15am.
While calling on the sect members to be law abiding and peaceful, the GOC said the combative acts of the Shiite members and obstructive process of carrying out their activities in the past which hinders public peace, result in lawlessness and obstruct free flow of traffic would not be condone any more. He stressed that much as every individual or group have freedom of association and religion, it must be done within the confine of the law.
He however assured that the security agents have nothing against the Shi’ite members as they are Nigerians like any other person, but they must operate within the confine of the law and anything short of that, the security agents won’t fold their hands and watch.
The GOC showed various arms and weapons seized from the militant members of the sect as well as jubilant members of the community who are celebrating the ouster of the sect members from their midst.