At least six people were reportedly killed and 10 others injured during a clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in Zuba, Abuja.
The Shiites were staging a procession when the clash occurred as soldiers passed by.
In a statement confirming the clash, the Nigerian Army said the soldiers were escorting ammunition and missiles from Abuja to Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State when they were attacked by some members of the IMN around Zuba bridge.
Major General James Myam, Commander Army Headquarters, Garrison, who signed the statement said the sect established an illegal road block denying motorist free passage.
He said when the troops attempted to clear the road block, they met stiff opposition from the sect, adding that members of the sect used various objects to barricade the road and also pelted the troops with stones and other dangerous items.
He said they also attempted to overrun the escort to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting.
This he said, “led to the troops opening fire to extricate them-selves,” before troops of 102 Guards Battalion in whose Area of Responsibility the incident occurred rushed to the convoy’s rescue.
He said, “Unfortunately, during the encounter three members of the sect were killed, while two soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries.”
However, a leader of the group in Suleja town of Niger State, Aliyu Umar, told our reporter yesterday that their procession started peacefully from the town with members from other states in attendance. He said the soldiers attacked them at an open field where they converged for closing prayers around 2pm.
He said six of their members were killed. He gave their names as Abdul Aziz Maigana, 27; Rabi’u Malumfashi, 25; Mika’il Kaduna, 25; Abu-Dijana Suleja, 25; Sa’idu Lagos, 45 and Ukashat Madallah, 25.
The DPO of Zuba, CSP Fodio Sani, confirmed the incident but said he could not confirm the total death toll from the clash.
Meanwhile, the police have announced that security will be beefed up around the Zuba area to prevent further breakdown of law and order.