The Nigerian army has claimed it lost some men when soldiers and supporters of Zaria-based Islamic preacher, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky followers clashed on Saturday. Adeniyi Oyebade, a major-general and the general officer commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanised Division, narrated how the violence happened:
“You will recall that on Saturday, the president and commander-in-chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, was here to attend Kaduna State University’s second convocation and the musical festival. “After a successful visit, I went to Zaria to meet the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Tukur Buratai. After the advance security team of the COAS had cleared the road without hassles, hundreds of the sect members barricaded the road.
“The COAS was held up. Two senior officers came down and address the Shi’ite members. All entreaties failed, the sect members started hauling dangerous weapons at the convoy.
“As part of our rules of engagement, we came to the conclusion that the life of the COAS is in dire danger, we saw the hoodlums coming in hundreds of numbers.
“I want to use this opportunity to make a categorical statement. That the sect over the years take the laws into their hands, we will not allow that to go on again. El-Zakzaky and his wife are in safe custody in a save military facility here and in due time he will speak to his members.” The army showed to journalists weapons purportedly seized from the Shiite cleric supporters.