Why we cannot confront Shiite protesters — Guards brigade commander

Posted by Molly Kilete, Abuja | 30 April 2019 | 717 times

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•Nigerian Shiites during a protest

The Guards Brigade, Nigerian Army, has called on residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), not to panic over the incessant protest embarked upon by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigerian (IMN), in Abuja, to demand the release of their leader Sheik Ibrahim El-Zazaky. 

El-Zazaky has been in custody since 2015, after a clash with the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, while on an official engagement in Zaria, Kaduna State.

For some time now, members of the group have been carrying out protest in major parts of the city and causing heavy traffic forcing residents to take alternative routes.

Guards Brigade Commander, Brigadier-General Umar, Tama Musa, who gave the assurance in an interview with journalists said the brigade was aware of the Shiites activities and watching their movement.

Gen. Musa, said that the brigade could not confront the group for now because of the peaceful manner they have been conducting their activities.

He, however, warned that the brigade would not hesitate to respond with force if the group decides to go violent with its protest.

Gen Musa, in an interview with newsmen shortly after the end of the brigade’s inter-unit drill competition, also said the brigade was collaborating with the police to curb the activities of kidnappers terrorising residents of the FCT.

He said: “In view of the agitation of the El-Zazaky group, popularly called the Shiites, so long as they are carrying out a peaceful protest or demonstrations, the Nigerian Army does not have any problem with that.

“But some problem will arise if they decide to become violent. But I want to assure residents of the FCT that we are monitoring their activities keenly and all is well.

“Whenever there is a problem, we can assure the residents that we are capable of handling the situation.”

On the issue of kidnapping, Gen Musa said “the issue of kidnapping is a serious security problem in Nigeria as a whole; it has been on the low some months back but it is resurfacing again and I want to assure you that the police are handling the situation.

“Whenever it goes beyond what the police can handle or whenever the police require our services we will assist them.

“But by and large, the security situation in Abuja is okay for now.” (Daily Sun)

Source: News Express

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