No fewer than three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) died on Saturday in a clash with troops of Army Headquarters Garrison escorting ammunitions and missiles from Abuja.
Two soldiers also sustained varying degrees of injuries from the attack and one of the dead has been identified as Abdulazziz Maigana.
The troops on official assignment to Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State had encountered a roadblock mounted by the IMN at Zuba Bridge when the incident happened,according to a statement by the military on Sunday.
The sect, who are followers of the incarcerated Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, were said to be in a procession and were denying motorists free passage before the troops’ convoy attempted to clear the road block but met stiff opposition from the sect.
Leader of the Shiite sect, El-Zakzaky and his wife, have been held by the Nigerian government since December 2015 despite court rulings authorising his release.
“Members of the sect used various objects to barricade the road and also pelted the troops with stones and other dangerous items. They smashed both military and civilian vehicles’ windscreens and windows,” said the statement.
Commander of the Army Headquarters Garrison, Major General James Myam said the sect also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting, making the troops open fire “to extricate themselves.”
Consequently, troops of 102 Guards Battalion in whose Area of responsibility the incident occurred rushed to the convoy’s rescue.
“Unfortunately, during the encounter 3 members of the sect were killed while 2 soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries and are being treated at a military medical facility,” it added.
The IMN, which confirmed at least two of its members were killed in the encounter, said in a statement on Saturday night that the military went away with one of the corpses.
Meanwhile, normalcy has been restored in the general area as the military said members of the public can now go about their normal activities.
“No individual or persons would be allowed to disturb public peace and unprovoked attacks against military convoys,” assured the Nigerian Army.