Shiites Say Army Killed At Least 17, Pledges To Continue Procession
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria [IMN], also known as Shiites, have debunked the statement by the Nigeria Army that three people were killed when army personnels attacked Shiites during procession march in Abuja on Monday.
The clash happened at an Abuja checkpoint as security services stopped the protesters coming into the city.
According to the Army, troops and police repelled attack by IMN members who, it alleged,“fired weapons”, threw stones and Molotov cocktails
“During the encounter, three members of the sect were killed while four soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries,” the army said in a statement on Monday night.
On Saturday, it could be recalled, several IMN members were also killed during protests in Abuja.
The army also claimed the protesters attacked a military convoy and tried to steal weapons and ammunition.
AFP photographs of the aftermath showed several bodies of civilians on the ground near police but it was not clear whether they were dead or injured.
Reacting to the claim by the Army, a Shiite spokesperson, Dr. Shuaibu Musa, while speaking on air in an Abuja radio, stated categorically that army lied.
He said that the Army personnels killed at least 17 of their members already documented but that the number is as much as 50 as many others are yet to be accounted for.
He also said that many more were left with bullet wounds and were dumped at a police station without access to medical attention.
The undaunted group pledged notwithstanding to continue the religious procession known as Arbaeen which will ultimately last till today, October 30, 2018.
Human rights group Amnesty International said reports that troops fired live bullets at protesters were “very disturbing” and would be unlawful if they were unarmed.
The IMN has previously staged series of protests demanding the release of their leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky who has been in custody since December 2015.
Zakzaky was incarcerated after his group clashed with the Army in the northern city of Zaria almost three years ago.
Then, the military was accused of killing more than 300 IMN supporters and burying them in mass graves, though Shiites claimed that about a thousand of their members were killed.