Three injured as police, Shi’ite members clash in Abuja

By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja


Three members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also called Shi’ites, were injured yesterday when some policemen allegedly fired gunshots and tear gas canisters to disperse their protest around Berger area of Wuse in Abuja.

An eyewitness said commuters and other members of the public scampered for safety when the incident started at 3:30 p.m.

It was learnt that the victims were shot in the leg.

The Shi’tes are demanding unconditional release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, who are detained by government in a correctional facility in Kaduna State.

A member of IMN, Ibrahim Yahaya, who also spoke with our correspondent, confirmed the number of the group’s members that were injured.

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“As I speak to you, five of our members have been shot in the leg by the police. Our quest will continue,” he said.

The protest ended abruptly as the Shi’ites, commuters and commercial motorists ran to safety during the melee.

Yahaya said the injured Shi’ite members were conveyed to an undisclosed hospital, adding that the “incident was like a movie show”.

IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa confirmed the development, saying he got reports that three sect members were shot by policemen “while on a peaceful protest at Berger”.

He condemned the attack, insisting that the IMN members had the right to engage in a peaceful protest.

Yahaya raised the alarm over El-Zakzaky’s health condition, saying the government was not attending to his medical welfare in Kaduna correctional facility.