The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has called on the Federal Government to investigate the attack involving the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Nigerian Army at a military checkpoint along Zuba area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
On Saturday, the Shi’ites had clashed with the soldiers manning the Zuba road during a procession from Suleja in Niger State to Abuja for their three-day march tagged 'Arbaeen Symbolic Trek', which was scheduled to begin on Sunday.
Although eyewitnesses had claimed that five Shi'ites died during the attack, a statement by the Nigerian Army noted that three Shi’ites died, while two soldiers sustained injuries.
However, in a statement issued and obtained by SaharaReporters on Sunday, CESJET described the incident as “totally unacceptable”.
Joyce Ogwu, Executive Director of CESJET, who signed the statement recalled that the last time the members of the Islamic group entered Abuja, it led to weeks of confrontation with security operatives.
Ogwu, however, alleged that Saturday’s attack was an attempt by the group to invade the nation’s capital with “thugs and militants".
The statement read: “Even if the soldiers manning the checkpoints had acted not to allow ‘armed persons’ free access into Abuja, it does not call for the kind of unwarranted and unprovoked attack unleashed on them by the militant wing of IMN.
“It is most unfortunate that this is not the first time of deploying violence against an institution of state, as they had in the past killed military personnel at will and shot at anyone that dares to rein them in when they engage in improper conduct.
“We call on the Federal Government to immediately arrest and investigate those that attacked the military checkpoint, the nature of response on the part of the soldiers they attacked and any other aspect that will help prevent the kind of provocation that caused the crisis in Zuba.
“The manner of projectiles and other weapons unleashed on the personnel manning the checkpoint is a clear indication that members of the sect were using the so called ‘Arbaeen Symbolic Trek’ as cover to infiltrate Abuja to begin carrying out attacks, as they had previously threatened."