The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has accused some overzealous soldiers of attacking the peaceful Ashura mourning processions it conducted in Zaria and Potiskum last week; hence it called on the federal government to stop them in the interest of peace.
It will be recalled that Ashura mourning processions took place across the major cities of the world.
Zaria Ashura procession in Kaduna state was first attacked by a combined team of security agent including soldiers, police and armed thugs on Thursday, September 20, 2018, after the procession was concluded peacefully in the morning. Four people sustained bullet wounds, though nobody was killed by the security agents.
However the second attack, which occurred on Friday, September 21, 2018, in Potiskum, Yobe state, resulted in the death of a bystander, and bullet wounds on four others, shot by some rampaging soldiers, who arrived at the scene where the procession was terminated, even though it passed many streets peacefully without any incident.
In an emailed statement to The Trent by Ibrahim Musa, the President, Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
The statement reads: Reports gathered by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria revealed that the Ashura mourning processions held in at least fifty towns of Northern Nigeria, including Abuja ended peacefully with the exception of Zaria and Potiskum in Kaduna and Yobe states.
In Zaria, the procession started by 7:00 AM and ended peacefully with speeches and closing prayers made. Then all of a sudden a cluster of the Nigerian police, Army and hired thugs attacked those that remained behind waiting for vehicles to convey them home. They fired live ammunition and teargas on the peaceful Ashura mourners, wounding four persons, with two seriously wounded.
In Potiskum, Yobe state, battle-ready soldiers indiscriminately opened fire at the mourners towards the end of the procession, unprovoked and without warnings. In the process, they instantly killed a passer-by and wounded at least four others among the mourners.
In Suleja, a major satellite town of Abuja, the authorities acted through proxies, when they sent some thugs to attack the solemn mourning procession, using knives and running over the mourners with a car, thereby wounding many, especially women and children. Fortunately, there was no reported death in the attack.
In another town called Anchau, Kaduna state, a combined team of policemen and Civil Defence men had gone to the Islamic Centre belonging to the Islamic Movement and ransacked the building, which also houses a school, looted valuables and torched books.
In Abuja security forces placed barricades to stop the procession but failed. They arrested some members of the Islamic Movement, who were later released.
The Islamic Movement believes these attacks were carried out by some overzealous soldiers, most probably acting out of some sectarian beliefs they hold against the Shia Islamic faith, since peaceful processions of any kind is the right of citizens guaranteed them by the constitution.
However this is a dangerous trend, that if allowed to continue unchecked will not foster peaceful coexistence between the various peoples of this country. The security agents should not be allowed to hold any acrimonious animosity against citizens based on sectarian beliefs.
We once again reiterate our demand for the immediate release of our Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky who has been incarceration for almost three years now, even with a valid court order for his release from detention, and the over hundred people in detention since December, 2015.