Nigeria: Police, Shiites Clash At National Assembly

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) yesterday clashed with policemen during a protest at the National Assembly.

The clash, which resulted in a number of policemen and the Shiites members sustaining injuries, was as a result of the latter's attempt to break into the premises of the National Assembly in protest against the detention of their leader Ibrahim Zakzaky.

It was gathered that the protesting Shiites disarmed a policeman and used his rifle to shoot two of his colleagues.

The FCT Police Command said two policemen were shot in the leg, while clubs and stones were used to inflict injuries on seven others.

The command spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, in a statement yesterday, also said at least 40 members of the movement were arrested.

He said "The group which started its activity, camouflaged in a peaceful procession became violent and were trying to force their way into the National Assembly. Police operatives on the ground, however, acted proactively, professionally and used minimum force to disperse the unruly protesters."

Manzah said those arrested will be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land.

Daily Trust reports that members of the IMN had in the past three and half years taken their protests to the National Assembly, but it was never violent until yesterday.

The Senate said through the chairman of its ad hoc committee on media and publicity, Sen Adedayo Adeyeye (APC, Ekiti) that it would look into incident and take appropriate action.

A witness told Daily Trust that "They [Shiites] arrived here and used these big stones to break the glasses at the second gate. They also stoned a policeman. I heard he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"It was not only him, many other security officials are currently receiving treatment as a result of wounds inflicted on them by the Shiite protesters," he said.

Thousands of Shiite protesters arrived at the National Assembly at about 1.30 p.m. They overwhelmed security officials on duty at the first gate and gained entrance into the second gate.

The protesters chanting "Allahu Akbar" carried posters bearing Zakzaky's picture, and were seen writing "Free Zakzaky," "Buhari is a criminal," at the various security checkpoints at the National Assembly gate while the security agents watched.

As they forced their way through the first gate into the second gate, the policemen on duty started firing shots into the air to scare them.

But the surging protesters retaliated by shooting catapult to the policemen, leading to a state of confusion at both gates.

Our correspondent also saw the protesters carrying one of their own in a pool of blood.

They proceeded to one of the federal secretariat buildings where they destroyed some cars, doors, windows and furniture.

We didn't attack police- IMN

The Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) said it did not attack police officers at the entrance of the National Assembly.

The spokesman of the forum, Abdullahi Musa, said the police fired live ammunition at protesting members of the sect, killing two in the process and one of their colleagues.

Musa said it was inconceivable that an unarmed person would attack a fully armed security personnel as suggested in some quarters.

On the videos showing some youths attacking and vandalising vehicles, he said they are not members of the sect but hoodlums organised by the security agencies to infiltrate their ranks and cause mayhem.

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