The daughter of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Suhaila, yesterday addressed a press conference at the Kaduna State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) where she gave graphic account of how her father and mother were shot and arrested by troops of the Nigerian Army.
She also alleged that the army carried out extra-judicial killing of civilians during the unfortunate incident of December 12, 2015 in Zaria Kaduna State.
Recall that members of the movement also known as Shiites, on that unfortunate day, were accused of attempting to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, whose convoy was prevented from using the road that passed in front of the sect’s spiritual headquarters in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Subsequently, soldiers in the convoy of the army chief used lethal force to clear the blockade mounted by the Shiite members after repeated pleas to allow Buratai, who was in the town on official engagement to pass through, fell on deaf ears.
Giving a blow-by-blow account of what transpired later in the night in the aftermath of the clash between soldiers and members of the IMN, Suhaila, 23, said: “We were at home on that faithful day when the attacks on Hussainiyya started, we only conversed with people over the phone. It was pretty much a normal day, then around 10pm we heard gunshots from far because there were people in the lane leading up to the house, it turned out that the military was there and advancing towards the house”.
She added “We spent the whole night with the shootings going on and it was reported that people are being killed.
The next day, [while] people were saying the early morning prayer, they got the opportunity to get close to the house and eventually got to knock down the walls of the house with their tanks. When they entered the house, they killed as much people as they could, burnt some alive. We were fortunate to be in the part of the house that was not burnt but they assumed everyone was burnt dead, so they did not really search where we were.
“We spent that whole day with the soldiers, we could hear their shooting from far and there was fire all over the house, and we spent the night like that. In the morning, I think they came to search the rest of the house to see what’s there and what’s not, myself, my mother and father and some other members of the movement were there when they got to the place we were in the house, they took shooting positions and shot at us continuously for a few seconds or up to a minute. When they stopped, that was when we realised my father and mother had been shot, my three brothers and some of the people that we were with had been shot dead.
“They took us away one by one, most of the people I was with, me, my sisters and the other people were beaten up before we were taken to the Army Depot in Zaria where me and my sister spent four days, from the 14th December to18 December, they also took our parents away and we did not have any contact with them”.
Asked how she and her other siblings have been coping since the incident, she said “thanks be to Allah, we have been coping fine, we are waiting for justice and we hope that we will find that”.