From Mustapha Adamu, Kano
Police in Kano State, yesterday dispersed members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shi’ah.
Hundreds of the Shi’ah followers, including women and children were dispersed by Police while embarking on their annual trekking to Zaria, called Arba’een, to mourn the assassination of Imam Hussein, the grand son of Prophet Muhammad( PBUH).
Eyewitness account stated that the errant Shi’ah adherents were stopped by the Police at Dangi roundabout, along Zaria road in the Kano metropolis.
The account said, “as they were prevented to embark on the procession but Police, the Shiah members then started attacking the Police. The police instantly responded with tear gas and started shooting in the air to disperse them.
“The shi’ah members then began run in order to save their dear lives,” said the account.
The account also said that no casualties were recorded by the sporadic shooting, adding “but the Shi’ah followers could sustain injuries because of the stampede.”
Another eyewitness, who craved for anonymity said, he met the Shi’ah members on procession along Zaria road, near Jifatu Stores, but diverted to Zoo road for fear of traffic gridlock.
He said he saw the errant Shi’ah adherents, carrying placards that carried inscriptions, demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been in detention since last year.
As at the time of filing this report, movement around the Audu Bako secretariat, state road and other adjoining areas has been reportedly restricted.
The Shiah leader in Kano, Sunusi Abdulkadir Koki, told journalists on Saturday that they would embark on the procession on Sunday (yesterday).
He added that, this time around, they would stop at a village near Zaria city because Kaduna state government had destroyed all their places of worship.
When contact for comment, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Magaji Musa Majiya, said the command received the information that the Shi’ah followers would hold the procession.
He added that, on receiving the information of the planned procession, the command warned and advised the Shi’ah adherents not to start it.
“But they insisted on the procession. We then sent our men to disperse them. As at this time, I have no information available on the arrest or casualties. But if the information is ready, we will make it public, “ he said