The Defence Headquarters has explained why the military killed three members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, weekend, saying they attempted to overrun soldiers who were on escort to Kaduna, with a view to carting away the ammunition and missiles they were escorting to the state.
The IMN in a swift response Sunday, said the Army lied, in its bid to justify the killing of some of its members.
The DHQ in a statement released through its spokesman, Brigadier-General John Agim, Sunday, said the soldiers from Army Headquarters Garrison were on official duty escorting ammunition and missiles from Abuja to Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State when they were attacked by some members of the IMN at Zuba Bridge, Abuja, at about 3 p.m.
The statement read: “Troops of Army Headquarters Garrison on official duty escorting ammunition and missiles from Abuja to Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State were attacked by some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, sect at Zuba Bridge, of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, at about 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, 2018.
“The sect members who were supposedly in a procession, established an illegal road block denying motorists free passage.
“When the troops’ convoy attempted to clear the road block, they met stiff opposition from the sect.
“Members of the sect used various objects to barricade the road and also pelted the troops with stones and other dangerous items. They smashed both military and civilian vehicles’ windscreens and windows.
“They also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting. This led to the troops opening fire to extricate themselves. ”Consequently, troops of 102 Guards Battalion in whose Area of Responsibility the incident occurred rushed to the convoy’s rescue.
“Unfortunately, during the encounter, three members of the sect were killed, while two soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries and are being treated at a military medical facility.”
Meanwhile, the military authorities said Sunday that normalcy had been restored in the general area and asked members of the public to go about their normal activities, assuring them that no individual or persons would be allowed to disturb public peace and launch unprovoked attacks against military convoys.
In a swift response Sunday, IMN said the Army lied, in a bid to justify the killing of some of its members.
The group in a statement by the spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in Abuja, said members of IMN, otherwise known as Shi’ites, were peaceful and unarmed and had also marched for ten kilometers before their encounter with the troops.
It said there were photographs and video evidences in its possession which debunked the claims by the Army.
The IMN’s statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a false, unsubstantiated and mischievous press statement by the Nigerian Army, signed by one Major-General James Myam, the Commander, Army Headquarters Garrison, to justify the bestiality they meted out on innocent, unarmed members of the Islamic Movement on Saturday while carrying out their solemn religious duty of Arbaeen mourning procession at Zuba.
“We categorically refute the storyline of the Nigerian Army. These age long, worn-out, malevolent storylines are no longer being believed by members of the public because over time, the Islamic Movement has convincingly demonstrated its peaceful disposition while conducting its religious obligations, even in the face of extreme official persecution.
“What was witnessed last Saturday was done in broad daylight and in full glare of the public. Video clips of both the procession, prior to the unprovoked, brutal attacks and of the fierce attacks by soldiers at unarmed people scrambling for cover while the soldiers take deliberate steps to seek them and shoot them dead are all in the public domain.
“Therefore, the government and its Army cannot confuse members of the public by going further with their plans of campaign of calumny and false propaganda to malign the Movement and its leadership.
“The public is led to believe that the government and its Army are resorting to these vicious campaigns in desperation. Yet, they would never wish away or bury their crimes against humanity.”