Nine Nigerian Shiite killed, several wounded

LAGOS, Nigeria — In what appears to be a similar development, which was earlier reported by ArmedPolitics , members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were attacked during an Ashura procession leaving several of its members wounded, with nine dead on Wednesday October 12, 2016.

Zakzaky addressing his followers in 2013 in Kaduna, Nigeria (Image by Tajo Malli/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Zakzaky addressing his followers in 2013 in Kaduna, Nigeria (Image by Tajo Malli/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Shia Muslims, popularly referred to as Shiite in Nigeria, annually recognize the day of Ashura. In Shia predominant countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon and Bahrain, this day serves as a grieving and mourning occasion. People assemble at mosques where sorrowful and poetic recitation such as marsiya, noha, latmiya and soaz are performed to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husain.

In a statement gathered by ArmedPolitics from the Shiites front in Nigeria which has since been demanding the release of its leader and founder of IMN, Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, who was arrested during the 2015 Zaria Massacre, the Free Zakzaky Campaign Organisation (FZCO) said: “At least nine people are reported killed after security forces opened fire at mourners taking part in an annual religious procession. The killings came when soldiers attacked a peaceful procession using live rounds and tear gas in the town of Funtua in Katsina state.”

It further stated: “This year’s processions have been preceded by a military build-up that is reminiscent of the run-up to the massacre last December of at least one thousand IMN supporters by the army. There has also been a spate of arrests over recent days of IMN supporters in response to a recent state-wide ban proscribing membership of the movement. As was feared, the new law appears to be being used as an attempt to further weaken the movement whose leader Shaikh Ibrahim Zakzaky remains under arrest. Sheikh Zakzaky was shot in last December’s attack and has been in the custody of Nigeria’s internal security services ever since without charge.”

A source in northeastern state of Kano confirmed to an ArmedPolitics correspondent as at the time of filing this report that there is ongoing attacks on mourners after peaceful procession, leaving several wounded and others arrested and taken to Kano State Police Headquarters.

(Reported by Adedayo Osho; Editing by Dejan S. & Robyn Hunter)