By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has claimed that 12 of its members were killed by police in five states while participating in Tuesday’s Ashura procession.
The President of IMN Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement listed the states where the members were killed during the religious procession as Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Sokoto and Katsina States.
The procession was relatively peaceful in the FCT as a security lockdown put the members of the religious sect at bay.
Musa said three of those who died in Bauchi State were killed in Azare town, while the two victims in Sokoto State, fell to the hail of police bullets in Goronyo and Illela, a town on the border with Niger Republic.
Several adherents of the sects were also injured in Kaduna.
“At least three people were confirmed killed by the police in Kaduna and 10 others injured, some fatally, when thousands of Muslim brothers and sisters trooped out in the early hours of Tuesday commemorating the tragic events of Ashura.
“In Bauchi, reports also have it that three persons were killed during the Ashura procession when the police attacked the mourners.
“Likewise, three others were killed by the police in Azare, also in Bauchi state. Another three persons were killed by the police in Gombe, Gombe State,” the statement said.
Musa accused the Police of indiscriminately shooting at some of the mourners in Katsina. He also alleged that the assault inflicted bullet injuries on several mourners while one person was killed in Malumfashi.
“That the mourning procession ended peacefully in places not attacked by the police is sufficient evidence as to who the instigators of violence are whenever we are carrying out our legitimate religious duties,” Musa said.
For several hours on Tuesday morning, many commuters were stranded on busy Abuja-Keffi Road and AYA-Kubwa Road,
which were virtually closed to traffic, after security operatives, set up road blocks.
The cordons were to deter the members of the IMN from assembling inside Abuja for their annual Ashura religious procession,
which marks the tenth day of the first month in the Islamic calendar.
However, despite the intense security checks and warning by Police that it would consider the planned procession as “a gathering in advancement of terrorism”, the IMN members, collectively known as the Shiites, in defiance, regrouped in Wuse, Abuja and observed their religious procession unmolested.