Nigerian Army yesterday confirmed it had a violent encounter with members of the Shiite Islamic faith, in which the sect claimed that seven of its members were feared killed and 20 grievously wounded in Zaria, Kaduna State.
A statement by Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, Acting Director Army, Public Relations, yesterday, read: “The Shiite sect, on the orders of their leader, Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, today (yesterday) afternoon in Zaria attacked the convoy of the Chief of the Army Staff while on his way to pay homage on the Emir of Zazzau and attend the passing out parade of 73 regular recruits intake of Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria.
“The sect members, numbering hundreds and carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tyres. They refused all entreaties to disperse and then started firing and pelting the convoy with dangerous objects.
“The barricade was obviously a deliberate attempt to assassinate the Chief of the Army Staff and members of his entourage while on a legitimate official assignment as Special Guest of Honour at the passing out parade which had earlier been widely publicized.
“The troops responsible for the safety and security of the Chief of the Army Staff, on hearing the explosion and firing, were left with no choice than to defend him and the convoy at all costs as well as