The leader of the Islamic Brotherhood in Nigeria, Ibrahim Zakzaky, has accused the Nigerian military of summarily executing two of his sons after their arrests, in addition to a third son killed earlier, allegedly by soldiers.
The alleged attack occurred during a procession by Shiite Muslims in Zaria Friday.
Speaking at a news conference Saturday, Mr. Zakzaky said there were no clashes between Shiite Muslims and soldiers as earlier reported, but that troops opened fire on the worshippers during an annual Qud procession in solidarity with Palestinians.
"During the shooting they have killed and wounded a lot of people, including children and women. It was during that shooting that one of my sons, Mahmud, a student of Almustapha International University in Beirut, was shot. He came home for holiday at the beginning of this Ramadan. He was shot at his abdomen. He was brought here bleeding, they wanted to take him to the hospital, but the soldiers had blocked the way. He therefore bled to death on the road (to the hospital)," Mr. Zakzaky narrated.
"Among those arrested were three of my children - Ahmad, Hameed and Ali. They were taken alive and in good condition. But later on, after we made contact with some people, specifically the police, they helped us to locate their where about.
"They were taken to a Military Hospital in Basawa. When we demanded that they should hand them over to us, they refused, but insisted on taking them to Shika Hospital (themselves) and that we should collect them there.
"Later on we came to know that, they have already killed Ahmad and Hamid, while Ali was wounded on his leg. He has compound fracture. I don't think it was bullet wound, they broke his leg. Up to now he could not be brought back because they have blocked the road," he said.
According to the cleric, the celebration of International Qud's day is an event which has been observed globally for the last 35 years.
He said Friday's procession in Zaria was the 32nd the brotherhood held.
"For the last 32 years continuously every year we have been observing the Qud's Day celebration. It is marked as solidarity with the Palestinian people.
"It was set aside by Imam Khomaini in the 80's, during the last Friday of each Ramadan," he said.
He added that the Quds day was yesterday observed in Washington, New York, London, and Paris, "If one watched Press TV yesterday he world have seen the demonstration from all over the world".
"In Nigeria we have been observing it in different cities, at least in about 22 cities, including principally Kaduna, Zaria, Kano, Jos, Bauchi, Katsina, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Yola, Lagos, Illorin and Port Harcourt among others.
"This year the event went on smoothly as it has always been done. The procession started after Juma'at prayers from Central Mosque of Sabon Gari and ended in Kofar Doka roundabout."
Mr. Zakzaky said no one fired at the soldiers as reported. He accused the soldiers of shooting at the crowd without provocation, and killing far more than reported.
"However, all of a sudden there was sporadic shooting from the soldiers. They just appeared from nowhere and started shooting at people coming back from the procession. They continued shooting for some time deep into the night. They hid in the sugarcane farms of Kubanni area, where there were no houses," he said.
He said his other two sons, Ahmad and Hameed, were also in the country for the Ramadan holiday, just like their brother, Mahmood.
"Ahmad was studying Chemical Engineering in Shenyang University of technology in China, while, Hameed was studying Aeronautical Engineering in Xian another city in China," he said.
Ahmad was set to graduate next April, the father told reporters.
"Hameed came only last Saturday, his plane landed in Lagos on Friday and he took local flight to Kaduna on Saturday. So he was killed six days after he came back. I believe these two were murdered in cold blood, because they were taken alive. We believed that they killed them here, because someone has identified Ahmad alive at the Military Hospital, but wounded on his leg. They shot him before they took him to the hospital,".
The military has not commented on the killings. Defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Friday and Saturday.
Mahmud Ibrahim ZakzakyMr. Zakzaky said the casualty figure from the alleged attack has continued to grow.
"Yesterday we had a total of 16 corpses, while the soldiers took 9 corpses with them to the Teaching Hospital apart from my two children," he said.
"This morning as they were passing in front of Husainiyyah, they decided to shoot, and kill 3 more people and wounded many. We also learnt that they have taken with them two more corpses this morning.
"This means, today there is additional five corpses, making a total of 35 people that were killed," he said.
He said they have 19 corpses with them and the rest are still with the Soldiers.
"We had wanted to have a mass funeral today, but because they have set a road block, and it was not possible to collect the rest of the corpses from the University Teaching Hospital, we cannot," he said.
The brotherhood leader said the soldiers who killed his followers came from Abuja.
"We learnt that the soldiers that did the shooting yesterday came from Abuja. They were brought from Abuja specifically for this purpose," he said.
Mr. Zakzaky said contrary to reports, there was no clash between 'Shiites' and Soldiers and the procession was not restricted to a single religious belief.
"I don't know why some section of the media when reporting event decided to call it a clash. In a headline they said "Shiites, soldiers clash". Let me disabuse your minds about this idea of "Shiites".
"This has nothing to do with belief; it is to do with people. You don't have to be a "Shiite" to show solidarity with the Palestinians; you don't even have to be a Muslim.
"If you check the internet you will see some Jews who participated in this Qud's procession in London and New York. Several Christians participated, including some Heads of state. Hugo Chaves had always participated in Qud's day procession," he said.
He said expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people can never come at a better time than now.
He said for 19 days consecutively Gaza has been under siege with Missile shelling from Israel.
"The death toll is more than 900 now, getting to one thousand. And there has been demonstration all over the world not, only yesterday, ever since they started the attack in European countries," he said.
The alleged attack has drawn sharp condemnations.
The Kaduna based Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria has condemned the killing of the members of the Islamic movement.
In a statement signed by its president, Shehu Sani, Saturday, the CSO said the attack and killing of the members of the Islamic movement by the soldiers stands unreservedly condemned.
"The killings are cruel, inhuman, barbaric and a dangerous act with wider security implications for the peace and stability of our country,"
It said the attack and killing of the members of the movement is a reprehensible and abominable act capable of triggering a wider bloodletting and endless conflict.
"The impunity and Brigandage by our security forces undermines the peace and stability of our country and by extension the authority and credibility of the Government.
"Security forces established, recognized and funded by constitutional guarantees must operate within the ambit of the laws and democratic tenets," the statement said.
The statement also urged the Federal Government to" investigate the killings and bring to book all those who perpetrated this despicable and callous act".