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Security operatives arrest 57 Shiites in Abuja

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SECURITY operatives have arrested 57 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, in Abuja.

FCT Police Public Relations Officer Adeh Josephine made this known in a statement shared with The ICIR on Tuesday. He said that the Shiites were arrested at the Gwarinpa area of the FCT and other parts of the city.

“A total of 57 suspects, including 39 male and 18 female, were arrested and currently being profiled at the State Criminal Investigations Department of the FCT Police Command.

“A  golf vehicle, flags, petrol bombs, weapons, mobile phones, charms were recovered as exhibits,” the statement read in part.

She said it was a joint operation between the FCT Police Command and other security agencies.

The Shiites were arrested during their annual Arbaeen Symbolic Trek to mark the 40th day after the anniversary of the martyrdom of the third Shiite Imam, Hussein ibn Ali. The Arbaeen trek is usually held in Islam-dominated states.

Josephine said the Shiites “caused unnecessary hardship to motorists and other road users as well as individuals going about their lawful businesses.”

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The Police further said that the Shiites also attacked the security forces with petrol bombs and weapons, including stones, but were adequately rounded up by the security teams without any casualties.

Josephine told The ICIR that there was no casualty and nobody was injured. However, according to a video seen by The ICIR, operatives of the Nigerian Army were seen beating Shiite members.

Also, another was seen stabbing a Shiite in the leg while the other beat him up.

Six persons were reportedly killed by security operatives who were out to stop the Shiites’ walk.

In 2015, the Nigerian Army massacred more than 300 Shiites following a clash with the convoy of the former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai.

The fatal attack and many other violent clashes with security operatives led to the proscription of the IMN by the Nigerian government in 2019.

The group’s leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky spent more than five years in detention of the Nigerian government before he was finally released.

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Several legal disputes trailed his detention as the Nigerian government refused to release him after a court order had granted him bail.

Author profile

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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