ABUJA (NAN) ―The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Friday said that it had commenced inquiry into the shooting incident that occurred in Zaria between soldiers and members of Shiite Islamic sect.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information, in Abuja.
The statement stated that the inquiry was necessary to calm the situation in Zaria after the recent encounter between soldiers who were on routine patrol and members of the sect.
It stated that while not underplaying the significance of such incident, it was also necessary to ensure that sufficient information was obtained beginning from the unit level and other reliable sources at the location.
The statement said that a preliminary investigation had been conducted to unravel the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.
“An inquiry is subsequently ongoing at the Divisional level.
“Although, the report of the preliminary investigation at the unit level has vehemently contradicted some of the issues raised by the leader of the group.
“In his statement, especially on the allegation of extra judicial killings, the higher headquarters is conducting additional investigation on the incident to ascertain the claims in the preliminary reports from the unit level.
“In spite of the preliminary findings, the importance placed on the respect for human rights in all military operations, activities and interactions, has prompted the additional steps presently being taken to ascertain the true situation.’’
According to him, the higher level of military inquiry is with a view to unmasking the remote and immediate causes of the incident and to identify anyone found culpable.
Olukolade said that those apprehended during the incident were being interrogated.
“The DHQ deeply commiserates with the families of those that lost their lives in that unfortunate incident, especially the leader of the group who was reported to have lost his sons.
“Indeed, his present disposition is understandable as it is pathetic. I assure that no effort will be spared to ensure necessary justice on this matter.’’
It would be recalled that members of the Shiite Islamic sect and soldiers clashed in Zaria on July 25.
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