Killing of Shiite Muslims: Presidency Embarrassed By Soldiers’ Action
The Presidency has distanced itself from the conduct of the brains behind the killing of some members of the Shiite group in Zaria.
It would be recalled that some members of the Islamic sect who were on a peaceful procession to mark the annual Quds Day on Friday were shot dead by soldiers who opened fire on the procession.
The three sons of the popular Zaria Islamic preacher, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who were shot to death by soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State on Friday were undergraduates studying abroad, their father said yesterday.
A fourth son was shot in the leg and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital.
Thirty-two other persons, all of them followers of the Shiite leader, were also killed during the sect’s annual street procession in the city.
Another three followers were allegedly shot dead yesterday by soldiers as they were passing by in front of Hussainiya, headquarters of the movement.
The Presidency is said to be distancing itself from the conduct of the soldiers who opened fire on the protesters.
Aso Rock, according to sources, is utterly embarrassed by the development and has ordered a probe by the security agencies into the incident during which supporters of the man considered as an influential voice against Boko Haram were killed.
The investigation is to identify the soldiers who pulled the trigger at the peaceful procession and the allegation.
It was gathered yesterday that the Presidency saw the Zaria procession of El-Zakzaky followers as peaceful.
It holds the fiery Islamic preacher in high esteem in view of his stance against the activities and pronouncements of Boko Haram.
“The Presidency has asked security agencies to investigate how 12 members of the sect were killed because El-Zakzaky’s group has openly preached against insurgency,” a highly placed source said yesterday.
The source described the Quds Day celebration by El-Zakzaky as an annual event known to military, security agencies and the police over the years and should therefore not have resulted in any blood bath.
The source added:”Preliminary report also showed that in the thick of the disruption of the procession and attendant stampede, some followers of the cleric apprehended some soldiers and marched them to El-Zakzaky.
“Instead of being violent, El-Zakzaky, who was oblivious of the killing of some members of the sect, challenged his supporters on why they had to arrest soldiers who are law enforcers. He ordered the immediate release of the soldiers.
“Although some of the affected soldiers alleged that they acted in self-defence following sporadic shootings from the procession, the Presidency and the Defence Headquarters did not buy into the excuse.
“The Presidency has demanded an in-depth probe by security agencies in order to fish out the culprits.”
A security source said no one in the North has backed government’s counter-insurgency plan against Boko Haram more than El-Zakzaky.
“This incident should not have happened to him,” the source said.
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