By Idris Ibrahim
No fewer than 8 civilians were reportedly killed while many sustained gunshot injuries as security operatives clashed with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Abuja, Newsdiaryonline has learnt.
The incident occurred Tuesday morning at the highly developed Gwarinpa Estate in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) phase 3 District.
It was gathered that security operatives comprising police and army at some point, fired live ammunition, tear-gas at IMN members during their procession.
Abdullahi Mohammed Musa, secretary, Academic Forum of the movement in a telephone interview with Newsdiaryonline, alleged that they were attacked by security forces shortly after they observed an annual global spiritual events.
Mr Musa alleged that soldiers and police from Mobile unit open fire on IMN members shortly after they dispersed from the procession.
“We were not protesting, we gathered here today to commemorate Arbaeen symbolic trekking which we started since yesterday around Suleja (Niger state) and Maraba (Nasarawa state).”
“Today, we converged at Gwarinpa Model City gate and marched to the main bus stop shortly after we were attacked by the police and army, ” he said.
“Police were shooting teargas on us mostly women and children, when the soldiers…..arrived the scene, they opened fire on us and killed six of our members while police had shot two dead in front of Guaranty Trust bank, Gwarinpa. he alleges.
IMN members have clashed with security operatives on several occasions in Abuja and many states across the northern region over the years. Such clashes have led to the death of many and destruction of properties worth millions of naira.
Police arrest 42 Shiite protesters in Abuja
Meanwhile, the Police in the FCT have arrested 42 members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) over violent protests in the territory on Tuesday.
DSP Josephine Adeh, spokesperson for the police, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the protesters came from Niger, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno and Kaduna states to cause mayhem in the FCT.
She said the suspects, carrying charms, stones and some minor explosives were nabbed at the Kubwa-Gwarimpa axis of Abuja.
She added that they stormed the area in large numbers, obstructing traffic and throwing stones and explosives at police operatives.
Adeh said police operatives had been able to disperse the protesters and brought the situation under control.
According to her, no casualty was recorded but some of the protesters sustained injuries. (NAN)
See official statement later released by IMN below
Joint Security Brutality on Sheikh Zakzaky’s Followers…
Today, in Abuja, it was another heartlessness on display by the combination of Army, Police and Civil Defence operatives. Sheikh Zakzaky’s followers started an Arba’een procession from the gate of Gwarinpa model city to the main bus-stop, where it was terminated. Those who attended had even begun to disperse. Then arrived the team of the joint security agents with all sorts of savagery.
The brutality they meted out was of different level. First, they doused people with tear-gas, started shooting live ammunition, gunning down many. Eight were confirmed dead, tens of scores injured and numerous arrested. They even carted away some corpses to an unknown location. A woman, a passer-by, was pierced by an RPG to only-God-knows what. It was all bare cruelty.
In spite of all the brutality, Arba’een Symbolic trek cannot be stopped for what it stands for. The purpose of the trek is to recall and equally experience the trial and tribulation faced by the Household of the Holy Prophet (S). They were chained and dragged in scorching desert, barefoot from Karbala in Iraq to Damascus in Syria after the killing of Imam Husain 61 years after Hijra. It was a period of anger and anguish at the perpetrators of injustice not just in the plain of Karbala but the world over.
The Arab’een trek has historical antecedent and religious precedence in Islam. The great Companion of the Holy Prophet (S), Jabir Bin Abdullahi al-Ansari was the first person, aged and blind, who trekked barefoot with the help of a guide to where the body of Imam Husain (AS) was buried in Karbala. It was during this pilgrimage to the tomb of Imam Husain (AS) that Jabir was met by survivors from the family of the Holy Prophet led by Imam Zainul Abideen (AS), son of Imam Husain (AS), where they spent days beside the tomb and mourned the killing of Imam Husain (AS) and other family members.
Muslims identify with members of the Holy Prophet (S) through the trek, and in answer to the call and cause of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala. Today not only in Nigeria, but in Karbala, this Arbaeen commemoration has become the largest human gathering on earth with over 25 million people in attendance from various parts of the globe. Our trek by foot is another way of saying had it been there was a safe passage to Karbala from here, we would have marched to Karbala to pay homage to Imam Husain (AS) on this auspicious day.
On the 29th day of October, 2018. Arbaeen trek was attacked by soldiers under the Buhari regime, when it sent a team of Soldiers (brigade of guard) and gunned down 41 innocent people on the trek at Karu Bridge unjustifiably. General Buhari is responsible for that crime against humanity as Brigade of Guard are only answerable to the president.
Today, before the attack on us, the general public have witnessed how the Arbaeen trek like those before ended without any attempt to curb the right of safe passage to other road users. No panic was created by our Arbaeen trek. Love for Imam Husain (AS) is not the exclusive right of Muslims only. [Because of the gruesome attack on the Imam at Karbala, the fortieth day after is commemorated by and for all those who love justice and fight against oppression in all ages, including ourselves. That is why we always welcome our brothers and sisters whom; of their own free will treked with us today. This is not the first time they have identified themselves with Imam Husain, they have done it before and we thankfully welcome them. This is the handwork of Allah, and not the trick or influence of anybody as no one forced us to trek, it is out of free will and love for the family of the Prophet (S).
Abdulahi Muhammad Musa for Academic forum of the Islamic movement28th September, 2021