Police, Shiites clash in Kaduna raises tension
There was pandemonium in Kaduna yesterday following a clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, and police during a protest against the continued detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Two policemen and some Shiites were seriously injured during the clash in the heart of the metropolis.
Members of the group who had come out in their thousands to protest, took over the popular Ahmadu Bello Way, carrying placards with various inscriptions demanding release of their leader, when the police attempted to disperse them to avoid breakdown of law and order.
But the efforts by the police to disperse the protesters were resisted, leading to shooting by the security agents.
An eyewitness, who did not want his name mentioned, said the protesters shot back at the police. According to him, two policemen and some Shiites may have lost their lives in the clash.
At a press conference shortly after the fracas, the leader of IMN in Kaduna, Sheikh Aliyu Tirmizi, denied that the Shiites confronted the police with weapons.
He said it was the police that came out well armed to attack the protesters.
Tirmizi alleged that the police shot live bullets at their members, injuring several of them. He said other members of the group were arrested during the protest and were still in the custody of the police.
“No intimidation from security personnel will deter us from protesting the illegal detention of our leader,” he vowed.
The fracas paralysed business activities along the routes where the protest took place apparently for fear of the unknown.
Two journalists who were apprehended by the police were later released following the intervention of the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna council.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mukhtar Aliyu, confirmed that two policemen sustained injury. He did not speak on the condition of the arrested Shiites.
Meanwhile, Justice Nafisa Lawal of the Plateau State High Court 11 has said it would on July 19 rule on the bail application by two detained members of the IMN in Jos.