There is a brewing controversy over the number of casualties recorded in the bloody clash.
While the Shiite sect is insisting that no fewer than 800 bodies of its members were deposited at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, authorities at the hospital have said only 60 bodies were brought to the morgue.
The hospital source said 28 other members of the Islamic sect, who suffered various degrees of injuries, were also brought in for treatment.
According to Premium Times, Prof Lawal Khalid, the chief medical director of the hospital, said: “I can only confirm to you that 28 injured people from the incident are at the Accident and Emergency Care Unit and about 60 bodies at the mortuary, but I don’t have details of the names of both casualties and the injured.”
A spokesman for the Shi’ite Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa, said on Monday, December 14, that 87 women were among the dead.
“Report reaching us from the hospital revealed that 800 dead bodies were evacuated from the residence of the Leader of the Movement and Hussainiyya, the Secretarial of the Movement, and deposited at the mortuary of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.
“We call on international human right agencies to compel the federal government to hand over our captured leader who was seriously wounded by the Army as a result of gunshot on him to give him adequate Medical treatment themselves after the killing of his wife,” Musa said.
At this time, the exact number of casualty is difficult to independently verify, as a source of Sahara Reporters claimed that the casualty figure had risen beyond 100 in all the locations raided by the military.
The initial reports were also inconsistent. SB Morgen reports that the alleged assassination attempt was placed on the road in front of the sect’s Baqiyya headquarters.
It was gathered that the road, which is the only artery out of Zaria towards Sokoto, was reportedly overwhelmed by the Shi’ite officers in the army chief’s convoy came down to negotiate a passage, but were unsuccessful.
The army claim that General Burutai, the chief of army staff (COAS), himself then alighted from his vehicle to negotiate passage, and this was when the alleged stoning and murder attempt began.
If by any chance the sect feels that they have been pushed to the wall, then one might fear that a retaliation might be in motion.
Some have reported that normalcy is gradually returning to the troubled city, as certain government offices, markets, shops and other commercial activities have resumed. However, all banks in the city are still closed, the tension still lingers thick in the air.
The question remains, with all the protests by pro-Biafra groups in the southeast, insurgency in the northeast and the Fulani herdsmen wrecking havoc in the centre; does Nigeria really need a face-off with the Shiites?