Buratai: Zaria Clash with Shiites Wasn’t Premeditated

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  • Says fallen heroes of war against terror will not be forgotten

By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has stated that the clash the military had with the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in December 2015, that led to the death of several people was not premeditated.

Buratai also promised that officers and men of the Nigerian Army who paid the supreme sacrifice in the course of prosecuting the ongoing Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency (CT COIN) operation in parts of the North -east,  will never be forgotten.

He made this clarification at the weekend when he received the Executive Secretary of the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), who led the management of the centre to pay him a courtesy visit in his office.

Speaking on the tragic altercation with Shiites group in Zaria,  the COAS maintained the Army’s position that there was nothing like premeditated murder of some of the sect’s members as alleged by such groups as Amnesty International.

He said: “How can anybody accuse a responsible armed agency of government of murder? On the contrary, the people were attacking the soldiers with petroleum bomb and other weapons.

“In actual fact, not all of them knew how to handle Molotov they were trying to use against the army and it back fired on them.”

In another development, Buratai stated that the troops of the Nigerian Army are gallant patriots who have the interest of the corporate existence and integrity of the Nigerian state at heart.

He said the officers and soldiers have sworn to do anything and everything possible, including laying down their lives, in order to the defend the country and must be given due recognition.

He said: “The army will henceforth ensure that gallant soldiers who die in action are given a publicised befitting burial with full military honours.

“In fact, even if it means conducting it in arrears, we will ensure that our fallen heroes are given befitting national burials. Aside from that, we have also ensured that immediate family members of our fallen officers and soldiers receive prompt payment of all their entitlements and other welfare supports.” 

While noting that the Nigerian troops are engaged in various operations across the country in line with its constitutional responsibility, the army chief charged every patriotic Nigerian citizen to do whatever he or she can do to ensure the safety and progress of the country.

Earlier,  Anas commended the Nigerian Army for its unwavering commitment to the defence of the country from external aggression and internal insurrection. 

“We have noted significant successes in the fight against terror since you mounted the saddle of leadership of this great army and we are happy to say that you have acquitted yourself creditably so far,” he said.

He also commended public relations and information management of the army noting that it has been very vibrant.