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Army/Shiite Panel Adjourns Sitting till April 11

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The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Dec. Shiite/Nigerian Army clash in Zaria, has adjourned sitting till Monday April 11.

The Justice Muhammadu Lawal-Garba-led panel adjourned the session on the request of Muhammed Sani-Kato, the counsel representing the Jamaatul Nasrul Islam and other groups at the sitting.

The panel had earlier slated the day for members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to make their presentation, but failed to appear.

It would be recalled that counsel to the Ibraheem El-Zakzaky-led movement, Festus Okoye, had announced their withdrawal from the panel.

In spite of the absence of the Shiite members, the panel allowed the JNI through its National Secretary, Dr Khalid Aliyu and the Zaria Branch Chairman, Abdullahi Yahya to make presentation.

Yahya in his presentation, advised the Federal Government to take proactive measures to curtail the excesses of the movement for peaceful coexistence among the people especially in Zaria.

He appealed to the state government to ensure that all religious movements operated within the law of the state and the Constitution of Nigeria.

When the commission resumes on Monday, it is expected to hear the submissions of the Kaduna State Government.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Army in its presentation on Wednesday said its action against the Shiites was within the ambit of the law.

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The Chief of Administration, Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Ado Abubakar, said they followed all necessary rules of engagement to clear the blockade by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) during the incident.

The Army told the commission in their memorandum, supported by audio/visual clips and still pictures that their response was to thwart alleged attack by the IMN members on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015.

They alleged that the IMN members had blocked the road and denied access to the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

According to him, the Army was compelled to use minimum force to disperse the sect members after all civil efforts failed.

NAN reports that the Army was also represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division, Maj,-Gen Olaniyi Oyebade, Army Acting Provost Marshal, Brig.-Gen. Ayuba Hamman, and Col. S.K Usman, Acting Army Public Relations Officer.

They told the panel that their men had conducted a cordon and search operation in Zaria on Dec. 14, 2015 and recovered various weapons.

The Army denied involvement in the alleged killing of Shiite members during the incident as claimed by the IMN leader, El-Zakzaky, currently in DSS custody.

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