The Nigerian Army has disclosed that the Zaria based leader of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife are in the protective custody of the military.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), Headquarters I Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade, told the press on Monday evening in Kaduna that Zakzaky would soon be allowed to speak to his followers so they can be assured of his safety.
Members of the Movement clashed with soldiers on Saturday after they reportedly blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai from moving in Zaria. The army claimed that members of the sect had attempted to assassinate Buratai, an allegation which was denied by members of the sect.
Soldiers came down hard on the Shiite members, killing several of them including one of the sons of Zakzaky. Last year, two other sons of the religious leader were killed by soldiers.
Maj. Gen. Oyebade said that the Shi’ite leader and his wife are in safe custody but he did not disclose the location.
“We will allow him to speak with his followers. But as I speak to you, there was jubilation in Zaria as regard to the army’s engagement in the city. As military we had to do what we did to bring sanity because the sect has formed it a habit to mount illegal road blocks and checking motorists as if they are a government within a government,” he said.