Nigerian Army, Shiites in war of words after deadly Zaria attack that killed many

Nigerian soldiers used to illustrate the story.

The Nigerian Army and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Saturday have accused each other of instigating attacks that led to the death of members of the movement on Saturday.

While the Army is accusing the Shiite followers of attempting to assassinate Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, the Islamic movement said soldiers simply decided to attack “defenseless people”.

A statement by the Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, said Shite members barricaded the road Mr. Buratai’s motorcade was passing to pay homage on the Emir of Zazzau, and also attend a review parade by 73 Regular Recruit Intake at the Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria.

“The sect numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tyres,” he said.

Mr. Usman also said the Shite members “refused all entreaties to disperse and then started firing and pelting the convoy with dangerous objects”.

He said the barricade was obviously a deliberate attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff and members of his entourage.

“The troops responsible for the safety and security of the Chief of Army Staff on hearing explosion and firing were left with no choice than to defend him and the convoy at all cost as well as open up the barricaded road for law abiding citizens,” he said.

“This is in line with the Nigerian Army Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated from any individual or groups and should not be allowed to repeat itself,” the statement said.

The army said the sect carried out the attempt on Mr. Buratai’s life on the instructions of Ibrahim El-zakzaky, the leader of the Shiite group.

The Shiites, however, denied  Mr. Usman’s claims.

A statement signed by Isak K and posted on the website of the movement said the claim that the COAS “narrowly escaped assassination as a result of attack from Muslim brothers and Sisters of the Islamic Movement is a blatant lie”.

The statement said Mr. Usman’s claim “raises series of questions in the mind of right thinking people”.

It said members of the movement who were unarmed were gathered for a ceremony at their Husainiyyah base, to change the flag on the dome of the building to herald the beginning of the month of Rabiul /Auwal- the birth month of the Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad.

“Any excuse given by the military as reason for besieging Hussainiyyah and firing for hours, leading to the death of yet to be specified number of people, is considered a lie of the decade,” the movement said.

A PREMIUM TIMES reporter in Kaduna said a member of the sect who asked not to be named for security reasons informed him that 20 members of the movement may have been killed, while many others were arrested.

He said soldiers opened fire on the sect members after the convoy of the Army Chief had passed.

“After the COAS passed, an army re-enforcement was deployed, shooting indiscriminately, killing over 20 of our members, taking away some of the dead bodies and arresting many of our members including women,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commissioner of police in charge of Kaduna state, Umar Ambursa, when contacted by telephone, said he was on his way to Zaria with the state governor Nasir El-Rufai to ascertain the extent of the incident.

“I am on my way with the governor to Zaria. Will brief you later,” he said.

The governor’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, also said he was in the governor’s convoy and would only comment after getting the details of the incident.


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  • amazing2012

    Army are liars ! Everybody know shiats they don’t carry arms. Few months ago you killed their members and arrest unarmed children of their leader then killed them in cool blood as of there is no law in the land. And now you attack them,you just to draw them into war as police did by killing Boko haram leader which resulted to what we are seeing today.
    The government should fish out those responsible especially those instigating conflict using government uniform. In the same Zaria another prominent Islamic schooler Albani was killed with intention to draw his people to war so as to kill innocent people.
    While I condoled with the Shiats, i urged them to understand the motive is to bring them to war with government then the enemies of Muslims in uniform will seize the opportunity to kill more Muslims.
    Please ignore them! If you must reterliate ( which is allowed) then go to court or do it in silence !

  • musa aliyu

    These guys are dangerous, yet the authority keeps playing with the menace called Shiites. They have been terrorising the people of Zaria under the instructions of their leader while the emir of Zaria keep shielding them from blame. Please the authorities now that they keep challenging them!

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      All Muslim terrorist groups in the world are SUNNI !!…….GO AND CHECK.

      Where ever you see the Shiite take to violence,it is a response to Sunni wahabist terrorism. These people were not making trouble,they were marching and praying when the COAS convoy went passing by. There was no reason to open fire,it might happen to you next.

      THE SERIAL ACTS OF WANTON BRUTALITY UNLEASHED ON THE SHIITE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA IS SHAMEFUL .

      • M.A.Aliyu

        Your claim is evidently wrong. One of the many examples is the emergence of Hizbollah of lobonan.
        And contrary to your claim is the genesis that led to d emergence of the most deadly terrorist group of ISIS.

        • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

          The Hizboullah is a political party with international recognition whose militant support for Palestinian independence is defined in some circles as terrorism. They are not in the same league with Al-Quaeda,ISIS, AL-nausra,AL-shabab,Boko-haram etc which all have roots in extremist Sunni wahabism and apocalyptic interpretations of Islamic scriptures.

          • M.A.Aliyu

            What do you meam by international recognition when d most powerful country that leads the war against terrorism designated it as one of the international terrorist organisations since 1997?
            In other word, have you ever seen a political party with an armed militant wing that could be sent abroad to fight for or against another country without the consent or aproval of its local authority as in the case of hizbollah? Please, let us be just.
            My argument is that Hizbollah is a militant group that emerged not as a result of sunni oppression as you claimed!
            And i am waiting for an answer to the second part of my earlier response.

    • ABUBAKAR AUWAL

      musa, do not tell lies against people. The Emir of zaria has nothing to do with what is going on. I have lived in Zaria too before. The Shiites have never attacked anyone in their 37 years of activities in Zaria. They have been repeatedly attacked without any reason. even tonight, I heard on BBC their leader asking his followers to stay calm and refuting the version given by the Nigerian army.

  • olawale

    The Army under PMN are more discipline and not trigger hungry on armless civilians.he will do everything possible to fight insurgency .Change is here

  • Cleartruth

    I’m not a Muslim but I’m against the killing of unarmed civilians by the security forces under the disguise of Nigerian Army Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct. Soldiers must be held responsible for this reckless killings.

    • Wale Bolodeoku

      If PMB has an argument with the Devil you people will speak on the Devil’s behalf. We call that being Devil’s Advocate. Pathetic.

      • Cleartruth

        What you don’t know is that what goes around comes around. If soldiers go around killing unarmed civilians at any slight provocations, you are not save as a civilian. You must condemn extra judicial killing anywhere, anytime. It’s by doing so that you protect yourself and promote peace.

        • Focus

          Not all killings are judicial. Killing in self defence when the civilian is armed is allowed. On this particular issue, you were not a witness. I wasn’t either.But blanket condemnation of extra judicial killings will not do us any good. If the Shittes opened fire first, what was the convoy supposed to do?

  • Chukwuani Chidiebere

    islam is the problem of Nigeria .they have killed many Nigerian army persons.i support Nigerian army to start killing muslims every where because every terrorist is a muslim.

  • KINGHARMONY1

    I condemn the gruesome murder of unarmed civilians. First it was unarmed biafran protesters in Onitsha and now kaduna. Someone should as a matter of urgency tell this military men that the are meant to protect and not kill civilians. It’s inhumane and preposterous. God help us in this country because nobody is safe anywhere

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    This is typical Nigerian Army…..killing unarmed civilians for the flimsiest of reasons but abandoning weapons and fleeing in the face of armed aggression from Boko-haram terrorists. The killing of civilians have intensified since Buhari became president because of his body language of fascism and disregard for the rule of law.

    DO YOU WONDER WHY NO RESPECTABLE COUNTRY WOULD SELL ARMS TO THE NIGERIAN MILITARY ? THERE WOULD BE NO ENQUIRY OR INVESTIGATION AFTER THIS,IT WILL BE ONE DUBIOUS COVER STORY AFTER ANOTHER TILL THE CASE IS SWEPT UNDER THE RUG.

    THIS IS THE REALITY OF THE ZOOSYSTEM OPERATED IN NIGERIA,THERE IS NO VALUE ATTACHED TO HUMAN LIFE !!

    • ABUBAKAR AUWAL

      As we speak now, reports coming out said is that hundreds of shiites have been killed this night as the Nigerian army pushes towards the house of its leader with the intent of killing him. The man has millions of followers which means the goal is to instigate another uprising like the Boko Haram insurgency to perpetuate the insecurity in the country.

    • Gambo

      Man, you don’t know this guy. Abacha jailed him. He doesn’t give the emir of Zaria the right of way. Last year under Jonathan three of his sons were killed and now this! Zakzaky and his followers have no respect for civil authority. I think they want to create a caliphate just like BH. Zakzaky is a first class graduate of ABU Zaria. His ancestor was a very close associate of Usmanu Danfodio and was sent to Zaria to co-run Zaria by Usmanu Danfodio. His name Zakzaky basically means Zaria. He’s got hundreds of thousands of followers I think. They block the road and do not care about how they cause trouble for others. They’ve done this for decades. They’ve even blocked the emir of Zaria, so it is really easy to believe the army, really. That’s not an excuse for such killings however, but come to think of it, it is almost a declaration of war to hinder the chief of the army in that manner. Imagine the psychological import of blocking off the army chief in Zaria? Close to the gate of Nigeria Army Depot. That depot you’ve always heard about is in the environs of where this blockade happened, within less than a 3 kilometer radius. That’s where the Nigeria Military School is too. Armed Forces Command and Staff College is about 50 kilometers away. 1 Division Nigerian Army is about a 100 kilometers away. Nigeria Defense Academy is also about a 100 kilometers away as well. A major Nigeria Airforce Base is also about 100 kilometers away. The group was said to be armed too.
      It’d be great to hear from neutral witnesses but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are none because these guys take over that road and people are scared to get close. They dress in black.
      Let me give you a picture of that road. It is the main artery in Zaria. You can’t get through Zaria without getting on all or part of that road, so it’s understandable that the army chief was on that road. If you are involved in commerce in Zaria you’ll likely be on that road. They hold their very frequent campaigns on that road because their facility which came up about 10 years ago is on that road. That facility is so small it cannot handle a secondary school with more than 3000 students yet that is where thousands flock to daily, with no regard for other commuters. There’s so much space in Zaria that they need not constrain the society and themselves by using that facility. Imagine blocking Oworonsoki in Lagos or a part or 3rd Mainland Bridge. Or imagine blocking Apapa or CMS deliberately! All oLagos will find it hard that day. Sincerely, this is no hyperbole. That’s what these guys do regularly.
      Well, I’m not sure I quite agree with the killings but this is a background to how these guys operate. I once lived in Zaria for about a decade.
      Sooner or later I believe, these guys would have been a thorn in our flesh. They’re supported by Iran being one of the few bastions of Shia in Africa. The brotherhood in Egypt has been repressed for decades, but see what Morsi unleashed in only a few months in power!? The majority of his followers are artisans. The educated ones sit on the hierarchy as usual. But thank God their top brass always come out to take the bullet. Thank God Zakzaky has been arrested.

      • Looo

        God bless you for saying the truth

  • International Games

    BLACK PEOPLE ARE MONKEYS. LOOK AT HOW WE ARE KILLING EACH OTHER FOR SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN. THIS ZAKZAKY, GUNMI, AND OYEDEPO ARE INFESTIY OUR LAND WITH THESE FOREIGN IDEOLOGIES MASQUERADING AS DEEPER RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING.
    WHERE IS THY BEAUTIFUL ISLAM OF TIMBUKTU? THE BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIANITY OF ETHIOPIA? WHY MUST OUR RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONTINUE TO APE OTHER CULTURES?

    ALL THAT SAID. NIGERIAN ARMY IS LYING. ARE THOSE PEOPLE MAD THAT THEY WILL JUST STAND UP TO ATTACK CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF? SOMEBODY ATTACKED COAS BUT IT WAS NOT THE SHIITES.
    ARMY SHOULD BEWARE OF FIFTH COLUMNISTS.

  • sammyctu ode

    Our military should not behave like animals even while being provoked by civilians. THIS IS HOW BOKO HARAM STARTED AND WE ARE ALL STILL SUFFERING THE EFFECT. IF EVEN THEY BLOCKED THE PATH OF THE CSO, SO WHAT? SHOULD THAT LEAD TO TURNING THE GUNS ON UN ARMED CIVILIANS AND WHO SAYS THEY CANNOT DEMONSTRATE PEACEFULLY?
    PMB MUST PACIFY THIS GROUP AND DISCIPLINE THESE ILLITERATE SOLDIERS BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO CONTINUE TO SPEND ALL OUR RESOURCES ON WAR. WE NEED DEVELOPMENT FAST IN NIGERIA. I AM A GREAT SUPPORTER OF PMB BUT I EXPECT HIM TO HAVE AN URGENT PRESS CONFERENCE TO NIGERIANS ON THIS ISSUE. IT IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE FOR SOLDIERS TO TURN THEIR GUNS AGAINST UNARMED CIVILIANS. IT IS WELL DOCUMENTED THAT NIGERIAN SOLDIERS EVEN IN LAGOS AND OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY ABUSE THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF NIGERIANS CONSTANTLY WHICH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE ESPECIALLY UNDER A DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION.

  • Excisionist

    Shiites are victims of Suni xenophobia and jingoism not just in Nigeria but all over the world. As long as they are peaceful, they have a right to worship like in any other religion and denomination. Sunis are the blood suckers of this world responsible for 99.99% of terrorism..

    The December deadline is about over. The military should concentrate on the fight against BH instead of going about fighting unarmed civilians