The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, on Friday said it had commenced inquiry into the shooting incident that occurred in Zaria between soldiers and members of the Shiite Islamic sect.
This is contained in a statement in Abuja by Chris Olukolade, the DHQ’s Director of Defence Information.
Mr. Olukolade said the inquiry became necessary to calm the situation in Zaria after the recent encounter between soldiers who were on routine patrol and members of the sect.
It stated that while not downplaying the significance of such incident, it was also necessary to ensure that sufficient information was obtained beginning from the unit level and other reliable sources at the location.
He said that a preliminary investigation had been conducted to unravel the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.
“An inquiry is subsequently ongoing at the Divisional level.
“Although, the report of the preliminary investigation at the unit level has vehemently contradicted some of the issues raised by the leader of the group.
“In his statement, especially on the allegation of extra judicial killings, the higher headquarters is conducting additional investigation on the incident to ascertain the claims in the preliminary reports from the unit level.
“In spite of the preliminary findings, the importance placed on the respect for human rights in all military operations, activities and interactions, has prompted the additional steps presently being taken to ascertain the true situation.”
He said the higher level of military inquiry is with a view to unmasking the remote and immediate causes of the incident and to identify anyone found culpable.
Mr. Olukolade said that those apprehended during the incident are being interrogated.
“The DHQ deeply commiserates with the families of those that lost their lives in that unfortunate incident, especially the leader of the group who was reported to have lost his sons.
“Indeed, his present disposition is understandable as it is pathetic. I assure that no effort will be spared to ensure necessary justice on this matter.”
The sect was on a procession to mark the annual Quds day in Zaria when soldiers reportedly shot at them, killing over 30 of them, including three sons of the leader of the group, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.