16 April 2018

Nigeria: Why We Arrested 115 Shiite Protesters in Abuja - Police

Photo: The Guardian Nigeria
(file photo).

The FCT Police Command said 115 members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were taken into custody following Monday's protests in Abuja.

The Shiites took to the streets in Abuja on Monday morning to demand release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, whom the Nigerian government has kept in custody for over two years, without trial and despite court orders for his release.

A social media footage showed protesters hurling stones at police water cannon vehicles near Unity Park and Transcorp Hilton Hotel. The police had on Friday banned any demonstration at the park, an order that has been condemned by rights activists as autocratic and illegal.

Leaders of IMN said over 200 of their members were arrested during the protest, but the police gave a lesser figure in their account of the incident.

"One hundred and fifteen (115) members of the sect were arrested at the scene by police operatives," Abuja police spokesperson, Anjuguri Manzah, said in a Monday night statement to PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Manzah, a deputy superintendent of police, said 22 officers were injured. He also debunked reports that some protesters were killed.

The police also said they recovered catapults, iron bars, stones, ball bearings and pink head bands from suspects.

"Contrary to speculations from some sections of the media, no life was lost in the violent protest," Mr Manzah said, adding that the police have commenced investigation.

"Joint team of detectives from the command" and "operatives from the IGP Monitoring Unit have commenced investigation into the incident," he said. "The arrested suspects will be charged to court upon the conclusion of investigation."

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