The battle between the Nigeria army and Shi’ite Islamic group in Kaduna heightened on Sunday even as more clashes were reported.
However, the army were said to have mobilised throughout the night to lay siege to the stronghold of the sect to arrest the leaders
It was gathered 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.
Armoured tanks were reported seen demolishing the Hussainiyya shrine and the residence of the leader of the sect.
While the leader of the Islamic sect in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-zakzaky was arrested, top member of the sect, Muhammadu Turi, and the head of the medical team of the movement, Mustapha Saidu, and several others were killed during the siege.
The group had accused the military on Saturday, of unprovokied attack on its defenceless members on a lawful procession. But the army, through its spokesman, Sani Usman, said the Shiite followers attemptied to assassinate Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, hence soldiers on Chief of Army Staff convoy retaliated.
Sani said the sect numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tyres, adding that they 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 Buratai and members of his entourage.
But in a swift counter-reaction, the El-zakzaky-led Shiite sect, said the Army spokesperson was lying.
A statement signed by Isak K and posted on the website of the sect, 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.”
According to Isak, 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.c
Meanwhile, former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has condemned the killing.
Reacting, Fani-Kayode in a Tweet, via his handle, @realFFK said: “The cold-blooded murder of 20 of the supporters of the Shia muslim leader, Ibrahim Elzakzaky by the Army today is condemnable and dangerous.