Elzakzaky, wife alive in protective custody – Army ….Allow Us Access to Our Leader – Members
Elzakzaky, wife alive in protective custody – Army
….Allow Us Access to Our Leader – Members
By ALEX UANGBAOJE
The Nigerian Army said the spiritual leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria otherwise known as Shi’ite, Sheik Ibrahim Yaqub Elzakzaky and his wife Zeenat are alive, in protective custody in a facility and would be given the opportunity to speak to his followers soon while recounting troop’s ordeal with the sect members on Saturday in Zaria.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade made this disclosure this evening at the Division Headquarters, Kaduna while briefing journalist on the incident.
Oyebade said based on preliminary security reports, the Army deployed its men and the advance team of the Army Chief to the Sokoto road, Sabon Gari, Zaria where the Shi’ite members blocked, and cleared it for easy access for the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. But before the arrival of the Army Chief, the Shiite members re-blocked the road.
The GOC said it took a while, and despite all entreaties to the Shi’ite members to allow the COAS and his motorcade pass, they refused. After acting within rules of engagement when they noticed that Buratai’s life is threatened, the Army cleared the obstacles for him to pass.
While moving, the sect members threw all sorts of things including stones using catapults, cudgels, sachet water, sticks among others as weapons at the motorcade of the Army Chief which infuriated his security details.
According to him, after the Army Chief’s passage to the Emir of Zazzau’s Palace enrout the Depot, Nigerian Army, the sect members started mobilizing members from various destination, attacked security agents and facilities. In the process of protecting lives and facilities, he said the Army exchanged fire with the sect and resulted in casualties on both sides.
Oyebade said specifically the Hussainiya Headquarters of the group, Dembo road burial ground and Gyalesu residence of Elzakzaky were the three flash points used as mobilizing base and convergence units of the members. It was to these three places that security agents took on them, arrested and took to safety, Elzakzaky and his wife Zeenat today at about 9:15am.
While calling on the sect members to be law abiding and peaceful, the GOC said the combative acts of the Shiite members and obstructive process of carrying out their activities in the past which hinders public peace, result in lawlessness and obstruct free flow of traffic would not be condone any more. He stressed that much as every individual or group have freedom of association and religion, it must be done within the confine of the law.
He however assured that the security agents have nothing against the Shi’ite members as they are Nigerians like any other person, but they must operate within the confine of the law and anything short of that, the security agents won’t fold their hands and watch.
Meanwhile, members of the group in a statement signed by President of Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa has challenged the military to allow the group have access to their leader if it claimed he is alive.
According to him, “Members of the Movement should be allowed immediate access to Sayyid Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) as a means of taming the the situation from aggravating unecessarily.
“We believe that the army is clearing the corpses to unknown locations for mass burials to cover up for it’s crime. We hereby demand unequivocally that they should release the corpses to us, so that we can give them a proper Islamic burial. The people they killed are not foriegners, they are citizens with their relatives known.
“The Army should stop the unnecessary stage management of the whole incident making it look like what it is not through false and provocatve press statements, insightments and ground activities which might not augur well for everyone.
“Access to health facilities should immediately be allowed to those injured anywhere in Zaria.
“We believe that this incident is planned and executed by the government which has been looking the other way while the army was killing members of the Movement for a period of over 27 hours from Saturday on without any statement and is still quiet as the army continues with its killing spree.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is a peaceful and unarmed Movement with members in every cadre of the society that are entitled to every rights enjoyed by every other Nigerian, including religious rights, whose fundamental rights have been trampled upon by the government in its claim to be fighting against violent extremism, but instead spreading violence and hatred using state machinery.”