The Shi’a group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria, has listed five conditions that must be met before lasting peace can return, after a clash between the group and personnel of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State, left scores of its members dead.
According to the group’s Media Forum Secretary, Abdulmumin Giwa, and Yola leader of the movement, Abdulrahman Abubakar, who addressed members of the press in Abuja on Wednesday, the number one condition that must be met by the Federal Government is the unconditional and immediate release of its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky.
They equally stated that the group incurred monumental human and material resources, stressing that at least 300 members were killed.
The leaders said: “We want the army to hand over our leader, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, to us immediately for medical care. We ask the military to release all our arrested members. We ask for the army to stop molestation of our members; all corpses of our brothers and sisters killed by the army should be released for proper Islamic burial. We want full compensation for the lives lost as well as our properties destroyed, and we want a full-scale investigation and prosecution of culprits involved in the killing of our members.”
The leaders also debunked claims by the Army that the group attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, declaring that the video released by the Army chronicling the events that led to the clash was not a true reflection of what transpired.
Giwa said: “We had no premeditated plan to attack the chief of army staff as claimed by the army.
“On that fateful day when we were getting set to celebrate the Maulud of our holy prophet at the Husseiniyya prayer ground, the Nigerian Army came and stationed a detachment of soldiers there and the military presence created tension amongst our members. Even when the COAS came to pass, there was no incident at all. But two hours later, soldiers came back and began to open fire on our members. More than 300 people were killed there.”
“Later in the night, the army went to Gellesu residence of our leader and opened fire on our members, including our leader, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, and three of his children. More deaths were recorded there; in fact the death toll was four times more than what was recorded at Husseiniyya.”
Giwa also claimed that the Army took some of the dead bodies away to an undisclosed location.
The youth leader, Abubakar said, ““He (El Zakzaky) informed his only surviving son that he was bleeding profusely and that the corpses of his three sons: Hamad (18), Ali (16) and Humeid (13) were lying dead in front of him at the time the soldiers were shooting into his home.”
The two leaders also debunked claims that the group armed members of the group in the stand-off against the Army, describing it as an attempt to justify aggression on defenceless people.