Scores of people were feared killed yesterday in the Nyanya part of Abuja as members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiite group, clashed with the Nigerian Army.
The Shiites group were said to have embarked on their planned three-day religious procession in Abuja in demand for the release of their spiritual leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zak zaky and other members of the group.
As they marched from Maraba, Nasarawa State, to Nyanya axis of the Federal capital Territory (FCT), soldiers at the Nyanya/Mararaba checkpoint confronted them.
LEADERSHIP gathered that since the clash between the group and the military on Saturday at Zuba-Abuja, which left about five members of the group dead, there had been heavy military presence at all the major entry points into the FCT, in an attempt to prevent the group from moving into the city.
Members of the group were said to have attempted to break the barricade mounted by policemen and soldiers at Nyanya and and Kugbo checkpoints, as they threw stones and other dangerous objects at the security forces.
It was learnt that the soldiers deployed from the Guards Brigade who created snap checkpoints to ensure that members of the Shiite group do not have access into Abuja fired gunshots in the air to disperse them.
A fierce resistance by the daring members of the group led to the killing of some of their members.
One of the leaders of the group, Abdullahi Mohammed, told LEADERSHIP in a telephone chat that soldiers at the Nyanya checkpoint killed more than 20 members of the group.
Mohammed alleged that the military opened fire on their members as soon as they approached the checkpoint.
He said, “Right now we have not been able to get exactly the accurate number of people that were killed, but I can confirm that over 10 deaths have been recorded, because the military men opened fire on our members as soon as we approached the check point.
“Almost all the people at the front, both men and women, were affected by the shooting of the military men. I survived the shootings because I was not at the front”.
Our correspondents gathered that the group had planned a three-day protest/Arbaeen symbolic trek into Abuja, starting from Sunday October 28 to October 30 through Nasarawa and Niger States.
On Sunday, traffic along the Nyanya/Maraba axis was disrupted because many of the Shiite members took over the major roads leading to to the nation’s capital from that axis.
Also, Abdullahi Musa, secretary of the Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), alleged yesterday that no fewer than 100 Shiite members were shot down by men of the Guards Brigade.
Musa alleged that the soldiers came in a long truck, shot at the Shiite members and carried their corpses to a site where they were to be given mass burial.
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