Major General Adeniyi Oyebade told journalists on Monday, December 14, 2015, that troops were forced to raid the Shiites because the group was planning an attack.
The officer in charge of the recent military operation against the Shiite sect in Zaria, Kaduna State, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade has explained why troops levelled the home of the group’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and its Huissaniya ‘shrine’.
According to The Associated Press, Oyebade told journalists on Monday, December 14, 2015, that troops were forced to raid the Shiites because the group was planning an attack.
“Of course, because of the report I got that they are mobilising, I had to order that the Gyallesu (Zakzaky's residence) and Huissaniya (shrine) be brought down,” he said.
Oyebade also said that both the military and the Shiites suffered casualties and that the dead were still being counted.
The army engaged the Shiites after the group allegedly attempted to assassinate Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai on December 12.
According to AP, a report from the military police said some Shiites were crawling through tall grass towards Buratai's vehicle “with the intent to attack the vehicle with (a) petrol bomb” while others "suddenly resorted to firing gunshots from the direction of the mosque.”
Buratai also confirmed, while speaking to journalists on December 14, that there was an attempt on his life.
“You want to know how I escaped? It was by the will of God that I was able to escape from that place,” he said.
“I think NTA was there and they aired the clip, it was very clear. They were violent. Definitely this is very clear. The clips are there. That was what happened,” he added.
A video of the incident has surfaced and it shows the Shiites refusing to allow Buratai’s convoy to pass a road despite pleas from senior army officers.
The conflict between the Shiites and the army escalated after soldiers surrounded Zakzaky's home on Saturday.
The resulting gunfight is said to have led to the deaths of Zakzaky’s son and the group’s Second-in-Command, Sheik Muhammad Turi.
Zakzaky himself has been arrested by the army while the group claims that 500 of its members were killed during the attacks which it termed unwarranted and unjustified.
Watch video of confrontation between Shiites and soldiers below: