FCT police justifies attack, arrest of Shiites for riotous conduct.
Cyril Mbah, Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory police command has warned the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, that it will not condone any further protests or demonstrations in Abuja after eight protesters were allegedly killed by armed security personnel who opened fire on the Shi’ites during a street protest in Abuja on Tuesday.
Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Josephine Abbé, explained that uniformed men confronted the Shiites and restrained the group with minimum force during the annual Arbaeen Shiite trek within Gwarinpa District of Abuja, because members of the group behaved disorderly and threatened the lives and peace of FCT residents.
The PPRO observed that the demonstrators caused huge heavy traffic gridlock and apprehension as members of the group threw stones and improvised explosives at motorists and pedestrians on the road.
The police spokesperson remarked that the group had ulterior motives for the procession because it mobilised members from Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe and Borno states to converge in large numbers in Abuja with plans to move to the city centre before they were dispersed.
The police PRO confirmed the arrest of 58 members of the group, including a sizeable number of women and children, who will be profiled for prosecution.
Arbaeen is an annual religious practice observed on the 20th Safar of Islamic calendar to mark the 40th day of the killing of Imam Hussein, Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.
The procession began in a peaceful manner early Tuesday morning. It, however, turned bloody when members of the movement clashed with security operatives near Gwarimpa along Kubwa road, leaving eight members dead while many sustained severe injuries from police and military gunshots.
The PPRO denounced the group saying that members took to the streets of Abuja to create unrest despite the release of its leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat who were freed by a Kaduna State High Court recently.