Zaria Procession Killings: Army opens probe, but says soldiers were fired upon

Fiery preacher, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, says 35 people were shot dead by troops.

The Nigerian Army said it is investigating the alleged killing of some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Friday, an official said.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Olajide Laleye, told the News Agency of Nigeria, 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,’’ Mr. Laleye said.

The leader of the movement, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, had told newsmen in Zaria on Saturday that soldiers killed 35 people, including three of his sons during a procession Friday.

Mr. El-Zakzaky said members of the movement were on a normal peaceful annual Quds (religious) procession in support of Palestinians, which was observed in other countries.

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,” he said.

“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.

Mr. El-Zazzakey said it was the police that assisted the group in locating the whereabouts of the people in Basawa Barracks.

“When we demanded for the release of our people the army refused (and said) that they would take them to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) for medication, not knowing that the two were killed.

“I want to assure you that these two children were cold bloodedly murdered because they were taken alive,” he said. (NAN)

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