The leader of Islamist Movement of Nigeria, the Shiites, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zazzakey, yesterday, said the death toll from the bloody clash between soldiers and members of the movement in Zaria, Kaduna State on Friday, has risen to 35 as against 5 earlier reported.
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zazzakey disclosed this at a news conference in Zaria yesterday on the incident, adding that he believed the operation by soldiers was ordered from Abuja.
The Shiite group members were killed while on a procession to celebrate this year’s Quds day, as well as demonstrating against military operations on Gaza in Palestine by the Israeli forces.
Sources said out of the 35 persons killed, three of them were the sons of Sheik El-Zazzakey, adding that many of the sect members arrested by the soldiers were still languishing in a military detention camp, while the group was prevented from taking some of the dead bodies for burial as at yesterday.
Addressing a news conference in Zaria yesterday on the incident, the leader of the sect, Sheik El-Zazzakey, who lost three sons said: “I am appealing to my followers to be patient and remain calm, and after the burial of those killed, we will decide what action to take. I have communicated with the necessary authorities, and they are all claiming not to be aware of the operation. It is my belief that the operation is ordered from Abuja”.
In a telephone interview, Kaduna State Police Command Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Aminu Lawan, said the incident was not under police control, adding: “I advise you to reach the Nigerian Army if you can reach them”.
Although, efforts to speak with the Army authority on the incident failed, but a source close to the military said the Army authority has commenced investigation into the situation.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army on Friday said it is investigating the alleged killing of some members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. – Gen. Olajide Laleye, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by telephone that the investigation would establish what happened.
“However, what is already clear is that Nigerian Army troops did not initiate firing and only acted in self-defence after being fired upon,’’ Laleye said.
The leader of the movement, Sheikh Ibrahim El- Zazzakey, had told newsmen in Zaria on Saturday that soldiers killed 35 people, including three biological sons of his, during a procession.
El-Zazzakey said members of the movement were on a normal peaceful annual Qudus (religious) procession in support of Palestinians, which was observed all over the world.
He said that on Friday the movement had in its custody 16 corpses, while nine corpses were taken to the teaching hospital in the night apart from his three children.
He added that the soldiers killed three more people on Saturday morning when they were passing in front of Hussainiya, headquarters of the movement.
“One of my sons Mahmud, student of Almustapha University, Beirut ,was shot at the abdomen and started bleeding, we tried to rush him to the hospital but the soldiers blocked everywhere along the way and he bled to death. The soldiers also arrested some people, including three of my sons, they were taken alive and later killed two of them.
“They include Ahmad, a Chemical Engineering student at Shenyang University, China; Hamid, an Aeronautical Engineer at Xian University, China, while Ali is still alive but wounded on the leg,” he said.
El-Zazzakey said it was the police that assisted the group in locating the whereabouts of the people in Basawa Barracks