A passerby and another person have died in the clash between security forces and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiites.
According to TheNation, the security agents shot sporadically in their attempt to break up the IMN procession.
The Islamic group was marking its annual Arbaeen walk alog Gwarinpa area of Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital city.
“Two people were killed including one passerby. It was around 10:00 am we started hearing gunshots along the road”, James Ola, an eyewitness was quoted as saying.
“The shooting lasted about 10 minutes. But after the shooting, the gunmen appeared to have succeeded in thoroughly dispersing the Arbaeen trekkers.
“I saw two people killed on the road. Some of the passersby who had nothing to do with the Shi’ites may have also been involved,” he added.
DSP Josephine Adeh, spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, said 42 members of the IMN had been arrested. Some of them, he said, were carrying explosives and flags. She however denied anyone was killed.
“We got a security report before now that the Shiites mobilized people from about six states into FCT with the intention of making the city ungovernable.
“They engaged our men with dangerous weapons. They were throwing explosives and stones at our men. What we simply did was disperse them with tear gas. There was no casualty. 45 of them were arrested and the situation is calm at the moment,” said Adeh.
Repeated clashes between security agents and the Shiites have resulted in deaths, especially of members of the Islamic group. The Shiites most prominent confrontation with security forces happened in 2015, and it was an alleged attack on the convoy of then Chief of Army Staff Lt.Gen Tukur Burutai.
The army’s heavy-handed response resulted in hundreds of deaths of IMN members. Among the dead were five sons of El-Zakzaky.
El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenatuddin were arrested and kept in a safe house until their trial in Kaduna State.
The IMN leader, through his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) filed a no-case submission.
In a ruling that lasted eight hours, Justice Gideon Kurada of the Kaduna State High Court upheld Falana’s application and discharged the couple accordingly.
The ruling however did not hand the IMN leader and his wife any reprieve as government is yet to release.
Rather, the Kaduna State government decided to appeal the ruling.