By Hussaina Sufyan Ahmad
The Nigerian Police Force has reportedly arrested dozens of Shia Muslims followers at a religious procession of Arbaeen in Abuja on September 28, 2021.
The spokesperson of the group claimed that eight members were shot dead during the gathering.
However, Abuja police denied the claim of any casualty.
The police official said they intervened to stop members of the banned Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) from causing hardship to motorists along the Abuja-Kubwa expressway. He added that “57 people were arrested after IMN members attacked the police with petrol bombs and stones.”
“They were promptly intercepted by the security operatives and dispersed to prevent further disruption of public order,” the police statement said.
IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said security forces shot and wounded protesters.
“We were almost rounding up the procession when the police and army came and started shooting,” he said.
The IMN, a pro-Iranian group, had a profession in 2019 that saw their leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s arrest when it clashed with Nigerian security forces.
The army killed 350 IMN Shia Muslims during a religious procession in northern Nigeria in December 2015. According to rights groups, many were gunned down and burned alive.
IMN leader el-Zakzaky and his wife, who has been in custody since 2015, were freed last month after a court acquitted them of murder charges involving the death of a soldier.
But the religious leader still faces terrorism and treasonable offences charges, according to prosecutors.
Muslims make up about half of Nigeria’s population of 200 million. However, the Shia Muslim minority have long complained of discrimination and repression.
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