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TENSION IN KADUNA AS SHI’ITES LEADERS BOYCOTT TRIBUNAL

BY MOHAMMED IBN ASKIRAMA

Though the panel of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to look into the remote causes of the recent clash between the military and members of Shi’ite movement in Zaria has sat twice in Hassan Usman Katsina House, Kaduna, members of Shi’ite have refused to honour invitation sent to them . They insist on knowing the health condition of their spiritual leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Yakubu Zak Zakky.

On all occasions, members of this Islamic group had chosen to protest the killing by security forces of hundreds of their members.

During the Incident, members of the Shi’ite movement stopped and prevented the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, General Yusuf Tukur Buratai who was in Zaria for an official engagement. All efforts made by the military for Sheikh Zak Zakky to call his followers to order was not successful as he was set to have insisted that the followers were out on normal Islamic exercise hence, nobody should be allowed to pass.

This apparently angered the military high command that later ordered the use force to clear the Zak Zakky’s followers from the road. Many of them died in process and the spiritual leader’s house was destroyed. Found inside the house according to a press conference by General Officer Commanding, One Mechanized division, Kaduna, were some sophisticated weapons were found in the house, alleged to have been possessed illegally.

Subsequently, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufa’I who set up a panel of eminent Nigerians to look into the crises, also leveled about nineteen allegations against Zak Zakky and his men. Some of the charges include attempted murder, breach of security, running a parallel government, possession of illegal arms and host of others.

A senior member of the group told newsroom Nigeria in Kaduna that they want to see their spiritual leader in person because during the operation to arrest him in Zaria several of those close to him were killed while he was also shot.” We are not sure if he is still alive including his wife that was also shot during the operation,” he said.