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ZARIA Attacks: El-Zakzaky and Wife Rescued Alive, Says Army

Valentine Chinyem

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The Nigerian Army has debunked claims that the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was arrested by soldiers at his residence and his wife killed as alleged by the sect in a statement on Sunday.

This was disclosed by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna, Maj.-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, who said yesterday that the leader of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife were in the protective custody of the military.

The Army boss said the Islamic leader will soon be allowed to speak with his followers to enable them believe he is alive.

The GOC who was in company of the Kaduna State Police Commossioner said,: “The Shi’ite leader, Zakzaky, is safe and in a protective custody with his wife in a conducive environment.

“We will allow him to speak with his followers. There was jubilation in Zaria as regards army’s engagement in the city.

“As military, we had to do what we did to restore sanity because the sect is fond of mounting illegal roadblocks and checking motorists as if it is a government.”

While narrating how the COAS, Lt. Gen. Buratai survived assassination, stressed that all entreaties by some senior officers who were in the company of the COAS, for the sect members to leave the road was resisted, a situation which he said prompted the soldiers in the convoy to apply minimum force against them.

He said that in the process of using minimum force to subdue the sect members, both parties recorded some casualties while stating that the attack on the Army Chief’s convoy was pre-meditated and planned to assassinate him.

He added that over the years, the sect had taken laws into their hands, unleashing terror on innocent citizens within the places they have their shrines and activities.

He further warned members of the sect, within the Northwest zone to be law abiding and not to unleash violence on security forces and members of the public as such action would not be condoned by the Army.

On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Umar Shehu, said that the Shiite members had never obtained Police permit or respected any constituted authority whenever they were carrying out their functions.

He called for more cooperation from citizens and religious organisations as the security agencies strive to protect their lives and property.

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