Shittes procession: Eight allegedly killed, 57 arrested in Abuja

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) known as Shiites and security operatives on Tuesday clashed in Gwarimpa along Kubwa road Abuja, the Federal Capital, resulting in alleged killing of eight persons.

Penpushing reports that, the procession said to be annual Arbaeen Symbolic Trek caused heavy traffic gridlock, but allegedly turned bloody when members of the movement clashed with security operatives

The clash also recorded number of causalities following sporadic gun shots alleged to have come from policemen and soldiers, while sources said.a total of 57 members of Shittes were arrested during the clash.

Penpushing further reports that, Arbaeen is a religious practice observed on 20th Safar of Islamic calendar to mark the 40th day of the killing of Imam Hussein, Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, who was killed on 10th Muharram.

The movement leader, Abdullahi Musa, speaking on the development alleged that eight members of the group were killed and others injured during the procession following the clash, and dismissed the assumption that that the group took to the streets of Abuja to create unrest despite the release of its leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who was freed by a Kaduna State High Court in July alongside his wife, Zeenat.

Penpushing also reports that Musa, who is the secretary of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)  Academic Forum, explained that the teeming presence of the members of the movement around the axis was never to trouble but in celebration of Arbaeen.

“It is not a protest in any way. If you are protesting, you are agitating. We have protested before in Abuja for the release of our leader (El Zakzaky) but this Arbaeen Symbolic Trek is a global event. It is an annual event held in many places in the world,” he said.

“Here in Nigeria, we also hold the event and for the past 20 years we have been trekking on the street in support of the family of the Holy Prophet, Imam Hussein, who was massacred years back.

“Today is the fortieth day after Ashura, and it is celebrated globally. We have been doing this in Zaria until the massacre where they demolished our centres and covered everything, that is why we have come to Abuja,” he explained.

Penpushing reports that, the group leader stated that members would have held the procession in the Mararaba area of the Nasarawa State but they were deterred by heavy security presence to avert the eventual attack from the security operatives.

The scribe of the Academic Forum further explained that the group had ended the trek and were near dispersing when the security agents arrived at the scene,adding that the Tuesday procession was the closing day.

“Yesterday we marched around the Suleja axis, today is the closing day. If you remember today is the 20th day of Arafat. We were not even coming to the city because they occupied everywhere. We decided to march from the modern city Gwarimpa to the Gwarimpa main bus-stop.

“We successfully marched to that place, we had concluded and we were already dispersing when the combination of police and soldiers arrived. While the police were shooting teargas, the soldiers were shooting at us’.

“As I speak to you, we have eight corpses. I can’t confirm if they are all our members because you know that place is a public place. There were a lot of people there and it was around 10am when people were trying to get to their offices. They were just shooting, many people sustained injuries, and many of us were arrested,” he said.

Penpushing further reports that, a member of the group, Adam Abubakar, who escaped the clash, in his account stated  they were waiting for cars to convey them back to their respective houses after the procession when the  team of security operatives opened fire on them.

The Federal Capital Territory Police Command Public Relations Officer Josephine Adah confirmed that a total number of 57 members of the group were arrested, which she said include 39 males and 18 females

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