By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, has alleged that security forces were planning to attack its members embarking on the symbolic Arbaeen trekking.
At a press conference on Monday in Kaduna, the coordinator of the trek, Nasir Mansur, claimed that there were reports indicating that soldiers had mounted check points at the outskirts of Potiskum, Yobe State, and detained a trailer carrying the personal belongings of those going to Kano to start the trekking.
He explained that the Arbaeen trek is a religious duty incumbent on all supporters of the household of the Prophet Mohammed as a sign of solidarity.
According to him, “The Arbaeen is not quite new in this country and it is not a creation of IMN. Rather the symbolic trek has been done throughout history and also worldwide in various ways.”
He disclosed that this will be the fifth time faithful will be trekking to Zaria, the headquarters of the IMN, adding that some Nigerians even travel to Iraq to be able to participate in the trek from Najaf to Karbala.
He said: “In previous years, we faced varying degrees of reactions from government and some people. The increasing participation by millions of people in the trek over the years seem to attract severe opposition from some people and the government.
“Some have taken their hatred beyond bounds, which culminated in the detonating of bombs along the Kano route last year killing 23 trekkers.”