The Nigerian Army has said that its troops, over the weekend, frustrated attempts by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), to cart away its ammunition and missiles.
The Commander of Army Headquarters (AHQ) Garrison, Major General James Myam, made the disclosure in a statement on Sunday in Abuja
Myam said the incident occurred at the Zuba bridge, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, the attempt by the Shiites, apart from resuling in a confrontation, also led to the death of three protesters, while two soldiers sustained injuries.
In the statement, Myam explained that the troops were escorting the ammunition and missiles to Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna, when they encountered an illegal roadblock erected by the protesting Shiites.
“Troops of Army Headquarters Garrison on official duty, escorting ammunition 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”,
“They (protesting IMN members) also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting”, Myam said.
Besides the roadblock which disrupted free flow of traffic on the axis, the protesters were said to have pelted troops and other road users with stones and other dangerous objects.
“The sect who were supposedly in a procession, established an illegal roadblock denying motorists free passage.
”When the troops’ convoy attempted to clear the road block, 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”, the commander said.
He added that: “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.”
While noting that normalcy had since been restored to the road, the 2-Star General warned that the Army would deal decisively with attempts to disturb public peace “and unprovoked attacks against military convoys”.
Meanwhile, Business Day gathered that soldiers from the Guards Brigade Nigerian Army have mounted checkpoints on all entry points into the FCT.
This, according to military sources, is to prevent planned one-million protest by devotees of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites.
Stella Enenche, Abuja