Another demonstration by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) turned violent in Abuja on Thursday, following failed attempts by the Nigeria Police and Civil Defence Corps to quell it.
A footage made available by a Facebook user shows an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) firing bullets and teargas canisters to disperse the protesters, who in turn pelted the APC with stones and other objects.
Following the announcement of a ban on rallies and protests at the Unity Fountain, Wuse, on Friday, the police prevented Shi’ia protesters from gaining access to the garden. The protesters, however, stood their ground, leading the police to shoot sporadically into the air.
One of the protesters was said to have been shot dead during the clash. A witness said he was gunned down while trying to access to the Unity Fountain alongside other members of the sect.
Also, one of the bullets fired by the officers pierced through the window of an office at the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) headquarters.
Members of the Shi’ia group have staged a series of demonstrations to protest the continued detention of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, their leader, who has been in detention since December 2015. Earlier, in January, the FCT Police Command arrested 52 suspects over violent conduct during a Shiite protest in Abuja.
El-Zakzaky was arrested in 2015 following a clash between members of his movement and Nigerian Army. Hundreds of his supporters were killed in the clash and he has, since then, remained in detention despite court orders ordering his release.