Following a firefight between the Nigerian Army and members of the Shi’ite Muslim sect, in Zaria, Kaduna, a siege by the gallant troops, saw the arrest of the commander, Ibrahim Elzakzaky, on Saturday, December 12, in his Zaria residence.
A reliable source in the sect’s hierarchy also disclosed to Premium Times that a top leader of the movement, Muhammadu turi, and the head of the medical team of the sect, Mustapha saidu, and several others were killed during the siege.
Information gathered says that the Nigerian troops sustained a crackdown on the members of the sect throughout the night as heavy shootings and sounds of explosions were heard in Gellesu and Sokoto Road, where Hussainiyya – the spiritual centre of the sect – is located.
Locals disclosed that they saw armoured tanks demolishing the Hussainiyya shrine and the residence of the leader of the sect.
An eyewitness said more than 20 corpses were laying on the ground.
“The soldiers have killed many people here, possibly up to 20,” he said. “The leader of the sect, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky is leaving his home to where the soldiers are. He is saying he does not care if he is killed too.”
It was learnt that the military hospital in Chindit Barracks Depot of the Nigerian Army, Zaria received about 19 bodies of people killed in the feisty encounter.
The Nigerian Army had accused members of the sect of prompting the attacks.
While the Army accused 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”.
There has been a history of violence between members of the movement and the Nigerian military.
A similar clash last year led to the death of many members, including the sons of the movement’s leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky.