Why we attacked Shiites members- Nigerian Army

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) wave flags and chant slogans as they take part in a demonstration to protest against the imprisonnement of a Shiite, in Abuja, on October 29, 2018. – The army and police confronted members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), the group’s spokesman Ibrahim Musa told AFP, amid reports of casualties. Rights groups have accused Nigeria’s military of killing more than 300 IMN supporters and burying them in mass graves during the 2015 confrontation, a charge the military strongly denies. (Photo by Sodiq ADELAKUN / AFP)

The Nigerian Army has denied that its men made the first attack against the members of the Shiite group, Islamic Movement on Monday at Kugbo in Abuja.

The rift between the army and the Islamic group started off on Saturday when the soldiers embarked in a shoot out with the Shiites members.

The Force alleged that the group “attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting.”

The Army said in an attempt to extricate itself, its men opened fire on them.

However, the sect a few hours later countered the claims of the Army in a press statement released by the President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa.

Musa while refuting the military’s  claims said, “these age long worn-out malevolent storylines are no longer being believed by members of the public because over time, the Islamic Movement has convincingly demonstrated its peaceful disposition while conducting its religious obligations, even in the face of extreme official persecution.”

However, on Monday trouble began again when the sect members planned to enter Abuja from the Zuba and Nyanya Maraba areas, two major entry and exit points in the FCT. At the Nyanya end of the Arbaeen trek however, the march turned bloody, as members of the sect met stiff resistance at a roadblock manned by soldiers who allegedly opened fire with live ammunition. The encounter, which lasted about an hour, was said to have resulted in an unspecified number of Shiite casualties.

The force on Tuesday in a statement has denied the groups allegations and said the Troops were on a routine duty at Kugbo/ Karu bridge checkpoint of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) when they were attacked by the sect members.

“The sect in massive numbers forced their way into the troops checkpoint after over running the Police Force. The Police withdrew back to own troops position to join efforts to repel them,” the army spokesman, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu said in a statement.

“They fired weapons at own troops, throwing bottle cannisters with fuel, large stones, catapults with dangerous objects and other dangerous items at troops causing bodily harm and stopping motorist movement, breaking their windscreen and causing heavy traffic,”he added.

Chukwu further stated the troops repelled the attack in conjunction with the Nigerian Police to stop the situation from further deteriorating.

He however, disclosed that “three members of the sect were killed while four soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries and are being treated at a military medical facility.”

The force, therefore, urged members of the public living within Abuja and environs to go about their normal activities without fear of molestation as the situation has been brought under control.

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