A Nigerian Shiite organisation, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), said 12 of its members were killed in a nationwide crackdown on Tuesday.
The Shiites were embarking on their annual religious rite, Ashura, across many states in Nigeria.
The group’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement Tuesday afternoon said the killings took place after attacks on Ashura mourners in Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto and Katsina states.
The statement, however, said similar processions in Abuja, Jos, Kebbi, Minna, Lafia, Yola, Gusau, Zaria, Kano, Jalingo, Damaturu, Hadejia and Potiskum, ended peacefully.
Ashura, a Shiite mourning period in commemoration of the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, is observed on the 10th day of the first month of Islamic lunar calendar, Muharram.
The police had said in a statement on Tuesday that it would treat the planned procession as “a gathering in advancement of terrorism”.
The police’s waning on the Ashura gathering followed the proscription of the IMN by the Nigerian government and its designation as a terrorist organisation.
The police are yet to speak on the number of Shiites killed.
If confirmed, the 12 will add to hundreds of IMN members killed since December 2015 after the Shiites blocked a public road.
No security official has been prosecuted for any of the killings, condemned by local and international rights groups.
The leader of the IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is still in government custody and is being tried for the death of a soldier during a December 2015 incident.
Ready IMN’s full statement on Tuesday’s Ashura procession below.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has confirmed the killing of at least a dozen of Ashura mourners across the nation during the peaceful Ashura mourning procession today, 10/09/2019.
At least three people were confirmed killed by the police in Kaduna and 10 others injured, some fatally, when thousands of Muslim brothers and sisters trooped out in the early hours of today Tuesday 10/09/2019 commemorating the tragic events of Ashura.
In Bauchi, reports also have it that 3 people were killed during the Ashura procession when the police attacked the mourners. Likewise 3 other people were killed by the police in Azare, also in Bauchi state.
Another 3 people were killed by the police in Gombe, Gombe state.
One person was reportedly killed by the police in Illela, during the Ashura procession there, and another person was killed in Goronyo all in Sokoto state. In Malumfashi, Katsina state also another person was killed. In Katsina town, however, several people sustained bullet wounds when the police opened fire on the mourners, not only during the mourning procession but afterwards as the well-armed policemen attempted to forcibly make their way into the Islamic centre of the Movement.
These casualty figures may, however, rise due to the fatal gunshot wounds sustained by some of the peaceful mourners.
This year’s Ashura procession was held in all the state capitals of the North and Abuja. It ended peacefully in Abuja, Jos, Kebbi, Minna, Lafia, Yola, Gusau, Zaria, Kano, Jalingo, Damaturu, Hadejia and Potiskum.
Today’s show of shame and rage by the police across the states was sequel to the tragic orders given to it by the Inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu to brutally attack the peaceful Ashura mourners.
That the mourning procession ended peacefully in places not attacked by the police is sufficient evidence as to who the instigators of violence are whenever we are carrying out our legitimate religious duties.
We are grateful to Allah the Almighty that has granted us the courage to come out in several cities and villages across the country to commemorate the brutal killing of Imam Hussein (AS), the Grandson of Prophet Muhammad (S) as it is done in several cities across the globe, despite intimidation and threats by the federal government and its agents, acting on behalf of the Saudis by proxy.