The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) says the Nigerian army lied to the public in a bid to justify its killing of some members of the sect during a mourning procession in Zuba district of the FCT.
The movement made this comment in a statement issued on Sunday by their spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The military had accused the group establishing an illegal roadblock, denying motorists free passage, pelting troops with stones and other dangerous items, and also attempting to overrun and cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting to Kaduna from Abuja.
However, Musa denied the claims of the army, saying the mourners were peaceful and unarmed and had also marched for 10 kilometers before their encounter with the troops.
The spokesman also said there were photographs and video evidence in possession of the sect which debunked the claims by the army.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a false, unsubstantiated and mischievous press statement by the Nigerian army, signed by one Major General JAMES MYAM, the Commander Army Headquarters Garrison to justify the bestiality they meted the innocent, unarmed members of the Islamic Movement yesterday, while carrying out their solemn religious duty of Arbaeen mourning procession at Zuba.
“We categorically refute the storyline of the Nigerian Army. These age long worn-out malevolent storylines are no longer being believed by members of the public because over time, the Islamic Movement has convincingly demonstrated its peaceful disposition while conducting its religious obligations, even in the face of extreme official persecution.
“What was witnessed last Saturday was done in broad daylight and in full glare of the public. Video clips of both the procession prior to the unprovoked, brutal attacks and of the fierce attacks by soldiers at unarmed people scrambling for cover while the soldiers take deliberate steps to seek them and shoot them dead are all in the public domain.
“Therefore, the government and its Army cannot confuse members of the public by going further with their plans of campaign of calumny and false propaganda with a view to malign the Movement and its leadership.
“The public is led to believe that the government and its Army are resorting to these vicious campaigns in desperation. Yet, they would never wish away or bury their crimes against humanity.”