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One feared dead as Shiites, police clash in Kaduna

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There was pandemonium around the Central Market area of Kaduna metropolis on Thursday afternoon when police clashed with members of the Sheikh Zakzaky- led Shi’ites group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

Gunshots were fired around the area around 4:00pm as the police attempted to disperse the Shi’ites group gathering to celebrate Eid Maulud and stage a protest.

The Shi’ites, according to reports were out to celebrate Eid Maulud and protest the continued detention of their spiritual leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

The Zakzaky followers, in a similar protest in Zaria, equally clashed with the security agency.

President, Media Forum of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, claimed that one of their members was killed by the police in Zaria.

But the Kaduna State Command of the Police said, operatives, in a combined operation with the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corpse, dispersed the outlawed group professionally without any casualty.

The IMN spokesman insisted members of IMN were on Maulid procession being 17th Rabiul Awwal the birthday of the Prophet according to Shi’ites books when the police opened fire.

He said the member whose name was given as Muhammad Salisu was killed when the police opened fire on their members marking the Maulud (birth of Prophet Mohammed) in Zaria.

He said the police arrived towards the end of the Maulud prayers and opened fire at pointblank range, without warning and hurriedly ran into their vehicles and left the scene.

The IMN spokesman said: “Reports reaching the Islamic Movement in Nigeria indicate that one of the four casualties recorded earlier when police opened fire on worshippers marking the Maulud in Zaria, Muhammad Salisu has died.

“He was killed by police bullet that pierced the center of his heart when they indiscriminately shot into the crowd with an aim to kill.

“The police, who arrived as the closing prayers were being offered, opened fire at point blank range without warning and hurriedly ran into their vehicles and left the scene.

‘A very colourful Maulud procession that preceded that attack by the police had ended peacefully without an incident.” He claimed.

But Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, said the force had no encounter with the IMN members and there was no casualty.

The police spokesman reminded the force on the ban on any form of procession in the state.

He added that the command would not hesitate to deal decisively with defaulters of the order.

The police image maker said: “Yes, we received reports from Good Samaritans at about 1545hrs that, some members of the outlawed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were sighted at the Central area of Kaduna Metropolis and our operatives promptly responded.

“However, on sighting security agents, the protesters melted into the mass population of men and women who were maning their legitimate businesses within the market area. There was no encounter whatsoever with the Police and no casualty was recorded as well.

“Furthermore, similar violent procession was carried out in Zaria today by the banned IMN group and it took the gallant efforts of security agents comprising of the Police, Army and the Civil Defence to disperse the protesters and ensure public order and safety. No casuality was recorded as well.

“The Command wishes to remind members of the public that, the ban on all forms of processions in Kaduna State is still in force.

“Hence, the Command will not hesitate to deal decisively with any person or group of persons who are hell bent at causing disharmony or breach of the public peace and safety within the ambit of the law.”

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