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Shiites’ protest rocks Abuja, army confirms killing three members
10-29-2018, 12:32 PM,
#1
Shiites’ protest rocks Abuja, army confirms killing three members
Thousands of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
stormed the Kubwa Expressway in the Federal Capital
Territory , Abuja , on Sunday , to demand the release of the
group ’ s leader , Ibrahim El - Zakzaky , and to protest the
killing of Shiites by the Nigerian Army.
The Shiites blocked the Dutse and Galadima ends of the
expressway , obstructing traffic for about two hours as they
chanted solidarity songs and carried flags containing a
deceased member and El- Zakzaky .
The military , through the Army Headquarters Garrison on
Sunday , confirmed that its soldiers shot dead three of the
protesting Shiites in the Zuba area of Abuja on Saturday ,
after the protesters allegedly attacked the military convoy
and pelted personnel with stones
The army said the Shiites “ smashed both military and
civilian vehicles ’ windscreens and windows and they also
attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the
ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting .”
The army, in a release by the Garrison Commander , Maj Gen
James Myam , said the troops opened fire to rescue the
situation and three of the protesters were killed .
The Islamic Movement , in a release by its Spokesperson ,
Abdullahi Musa , on Sunday , said its protest on the Abuja
Expressway , was to report the atrocities of the army and to
demand the release of Zakzaky and his wife.
Musa said , “ Residents of Abuja and some parts of Niger and
Nasarawa states should please be informed that the
followers of Sheikh Zakzaky are in Abuja to conduct Arbaeen
symbolic trek . It commenced on Sunday and the followers
would march en mass to Abuja . The public should recall the
grave atrocities committed by the Nigerian Army during
December 2015 Zaria massacre where hundreds of children
were orphaned ; many husbands and wives widowed and
scores of Zakzaky ’ s disciples are still languishing in
prisons .
“ Likewise, Zakzaky has been in detention for more than
1 , 000 days in spite of his deteriorating health conditions
without proper medical treatment and despite the fact that a
Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered his immediate and
unconditional release since December 2 , 2016. We use this
opportunity to inform President Buhari and the government
that our demand is the release of Zakzaky and his wife and
this demand is not negotiable .”
Meanwhile , the army said the Shiites were violent in the
protests , which started on Saturday and vandalised military
vehicles which warranted the killing of three of its
members .
Myam said , “ Troops of Army Headquarters Garrison
escorting ammunition and missiles from Abuja to the Army
Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State were attacked
by some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria sect
in Zuba . The sect, which was supposedly in a procession ,
established an illegal roadblock denying motorists a free
passage.
“ When the troops ’ convoy attempted to clear the roadblock ,
they met stiff opposition from the sect. Members of the sect
used various objects to barricade the road and also pelted the
troops with stones and other dangerous items. They smashed
both military and civilian vehicles ’ windscreens and
windows .
“ They also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the
ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting . This
led to the troops opening fire to extricate themselves.
“ Unfortunately , during the encounter, three members of the
sect were killed while two soldiers sustained injuries and
are being treated at a military medical facility . Meanwhile ,
normalcy has been restored to the general area and members
of the public especially those plying the Abuja – Zuba Road
are requested to go about their normal activities with the
assurance from the army that no individual or persons will
be allowed to disturb public peace with unprovoked attacks
against military convoys.”
But a civil society organisation, Human Rights Writers
Association of Nigeria , has condemned the killing of the
three Shiites by the military , saying such action was
“ atrocious and reprehensible. ”
HURIWA , speaking through its National Coordinator ,
Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it blamed President Muhammadu
Buhari for the violation of court orders to release on bail the
leader of the movement and his wife.
Onwubiko said, “ The right to a peaceful protest and
assembly is constitutionally guaranteed . The killing of
members of the sect were completely avoidable if the armed
security forces had deployed non -lethal weapons such as
rubber bullets , water cannons or teargas to disperse the
members of the sect. ”
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