The Nigerian Army has accused members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) of attacking troops on escort duty, as well as attempting to "cart away" ammunition and missiles during an incident which occurred on Saturday.
A press release by Major General James Myam of the Commander Army Headquarters Garrison on Sunday, also noted that the IMN pelted the troops with "stones and other dangerous objects" and smashed windscreens of vehicles belonging to the military, as well as civilians.
The sect was conducting a procession to Abuja as part of activities for the three-day 'Arbaeen Symbolic Trek', scheduled to begin on Sunday.
Although five Shi'ites were said to have been killed according to eyewitnesses, the Army said three members of the sect died, while two soldiers sustained injuries.
The statement read: "Troops of Army Headquarters Garrison on official duty escorting ammunitions and missiles from Abuja to Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State were attacked by some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) sect at Zuba bridge, of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at about 3.00pm on Saturday 27th October 2018.
"The sect, who were supposedly in a procession, established an illegal roadblock denying motorists free passage. When the troops’ convoy attempted to clear the roadblock, they met stiff opposition from the sect. 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.
"They also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting. This led to the troops opening 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."
The statement also noted that normalcy had been restored to the area, just as it called on "members of the public, especially those plying the Abuja - Zuba Road to go about their normal activities with the assurance from the Nigerian Army that no individual or persons would be allowed to disturb public peace and unprovoked attacks against military convoys".