At least five people were feared dead Tuesday in a fresh clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Abuja.
A spokesperson for the group, Abdullahi Musa, told PREMIUM TIMES the group’s members were killed, “after they repeatedly tried to avoid military attacks” around central parts of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Mr Musa also denied that the Shiite members violently confronted the army, to start the attacks.
“Yes there has been a renewed attack on our members. I can confirm that five of us were killed. They have taken four of the dead bodies away and one of them is still here with us,” he said.
“We were headed for the Unity Fountain, when we met some members of the guard brigade at the Nicon junction. We retreated and took the Ademola Adetokumbo Road, but we were stopped again at Abia House. Then we tried to follow the back of the Ministry of Justice area, but they came again and started using teargas and shooting at us.”
Asked whether the group had taken measures to prevent these repeated clashes with the military, Mr Musa alleged the attacks were inevitable because they were approved at the highest level of government.
That claim could not be independently verified.
“I will just say that the people attacking us have presidential directive that is why these attacks are inevitable. We had announced that we will undertake an annual religious trek. We had also said that we will start from outside Abuja and end in Abuja,” he said.
“When we started today for example, we did not see any check points or road-blocks. Yet they came and attacked us,” Mr Musa said.
The Islamic Movement Nigeria began a three-day trek across some states of the federation on Sunday.
But the processions have been bloody in Abuja, with at least nine shot dead by soldiers.
The army has however accused the Shiite members of violently confronting them, resulting in the attacks.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023