No fewer than eight members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Nigeria’s foremost Shi’ite group, were killed on Wednesday as violence against the group spread to other northern states.
Attacks against the sect have heightened in recent times, with the federal government and Kaduna state leading the offensive, using the military and other security agencies. The oppression of the Shiites has however gotten life of its own as citizens have now taken the laws into their hands, attacking members of the sect at will.
While one member of the group was killed in Sokoto State, three other members were killed and two policemen injured in Katsina State while commemorating its religious rite called “Ashura.”
There were unconfirmed reports that nine Shiites were killed in Katsina during the Ashura procession.
The group said in a statement late Wednesday that at least 13 of its members were killed in multiple clashes with the police and some hoodlums in Funtua, Sokoto and Kaduna.
Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Kebbi earlier had banned the group’s annual procession.
Four members of the Shi’a sect were earlier in the morning killed in the Tudun Wada area of the Kaduna South Local Government Area when some irate youth attacked the sect, and torched the residence of its leader.
The mob also demolished the Shi’ite’s Islamic school in the area.
The police in Sokoto said hoodlums killed a Shi’ite member in Tudun Wada in Sokoto North Local Government Area.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Mr. Sunusi as saying that the victim was “seriously beaten and killed, while his Toyota Avensis vehicle with registration number BRK 144 CM was burnt by the hoodlums”.
He said the sect also engaged members of the public in a violent confrontation at Tamaje area of Sokoto South Local Government.
Mr. Sunusi said three motor cycles belonging to the sect members were burnt, while one person was arrested with cutlass.
The police boss said the command had since embarked on further investigation and called on members of the public to go about their normal businesses.
In Katsina State, the police said at least three persons died during a clash between its men and members of the IMN in Funtua, Funtua Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Usman Abdullahi, said two policemen were injured during the clash.
According to him, the police arrested 46 persons comprising men and women for participating in the banned procession.
He said the incident occurred when members of the Shi’ites group attempted to burn the Police Area Commander’s office in the town during the procession.
The commissioner also said members of the group opened fire on policemen using Dane guns, which he said, compelled the police to retaliate, killing three persons.
According to him, one of the sect members killed wore a mobile police uniform.
The commissioner said the police recovered five Dane guns, sticks, cutlasses, among other locally made weapons from members of the group.
He said the police had intensified surveillance and patrol in the area to ensure safety of lives and property.
Mr. Abdullahi called on the people of the area to go about their lawful businesses as the situation had been brought under control.
Source: NAN, Premium Times