There was palpable tension in Kaduna yesterday, following a clash between the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shi’ite, and security operatives in Tudun Wada area of the metropolis.
Daily Sun observed that shops, banks and markets were hurriedly closed as the news filtered into the state at about 12noon that the Muslim sect and security operatives allegedly exchanged gunshots.
An eyewitness said the Shi’ite sect were preparing for a protest against the arrest of their leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky by the military when police operatives swooped on them to disperse the crowd in Tudun Wada area. They were said to have regrouped at Tudun Nupawa area of the city, where many members were said to have engaged the police in a shoot-out, allegedly leading to injuries on both sides.
However, the sect, in a statement made available to newsmen by its spokes- man, Ibrahim Musa, alleged that the police attacked them first.
“The mobile police unit (MOPOL) attacked a peaceful protest staged by the members of IMN in Kaduna, killing three people on the spot, with many receiving injuries.”
This happened against the backdrop of the visit of Minister of interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau-led Federal Government delegation to Zaria, Kaduna State to assess the situation.
The minister also had a closed-door meeting with Governor Nasir el-Rufai on the development before he went to Zaria to ascertain what really transpired between the sect and soldiers.
The sect has, however, demanded Zakzaky’s release and bodies of slain members, including those in military custody. Acting National Leader of the movement, Sheik Yaku- bu Yahaya, who disclosed this to reporters in Katsina, dismissed the claim by military authorities that mem- bers of Shi’ite attempted to assassinate Chief Army Staff, Major General Ahmed Buratai.
He said killing members of Shi’ite was not nothing but a deliberate attempt to destroy the movement in Nigeria.
Yahaya, who claimed that the movement was aware of the plan by military to attack members of the movement in Katsina, Bauchi, Kano, and other parts of the country and wondered what of- fence they had committed to warrant such action and described the massive killing of members of the group as genocide. -The Sun