The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shi’ites, says they have recovered the bodies of 16 of Shia members who were allegedly shot dead by soldiers on Monday.
Members of the sect clashed with security operatives during a procession at Nyanya and Karu military checkpoint in Abuja on Monday afternoon. The IMN members were carrying out the Arbaeen trek when the fracas occurred.
Spokesman of the group, Abdullahi Musa, said soldiers also took away unspecified number of corpses in their trucks, adding that many people sustained injuries during the clash.
Musa accused President Muhammadu Buhari of ordering Guards Brigade soldiers to kill their members, adding that one of the soldiers had earlier confirmed to them that they had order from the above to shoot at the protesters.
Trouble started after security operatives formed a barricade at the entry points that borders the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and Nasarawa state.
They tried to prevent the protesters from crossing into Mararaba/Nasarawa axis of the FCT but the Shi’ites stood their ground, resulting into a confrontation.
As a combined team of policemen and soldiers opened fire, the IMN members responded by hurling stones and petrol bombs at them. Some policemen retreated into armoured personnel carriers from where they fired directly at the sect members.
In its own account of what transpired, the Nigerian army stated that three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, were killed after they attacked troops deployed to a checkpoint at Kugbo/Karu bridge in Abuja.
The army, in a Facebook post, said the troops stationed at the checkpoint “repelled” the Shi’ites after they attacked them and police officers on duty. It added that four soldiers were wounded in the altercation which took place on Monday.
“Troops of the Nigerian army deployed on routine duty at Kugbo/ Karu bridge checkpoint of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were attacked by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) sect at about 3:00pm on 29th October 2018.
“The sect in massive numbers forced their way into the troops checkpoint after overrunning the police force. The police withdrew back to own troops position to join efforts to repel them.
“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.
“However, troops repelled the attack in conjunction with the Nigerian Police Force to stop the situation from further deteriorating.
“Unfortunately, during the encounter 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 statement read.
The Nigerian army vowed not to be deterred in carrying out its constitutional roles and also safeguarding law-abiding citizens.