Shi’ites Grounds Kaduna With Protest 

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By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Business activities in Kaduna metropolis was temporarily paralyzed on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, as members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, (IMN) also known as Shiites staged a protest to demand for immediate release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.

A leaflet distributed by the group to passers-by stated that Shi’ites reiterated its demand that Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife and hundreds of others in detention over the Zaria massacre be set free unconditionally in the interest of peace and national cohesion so much desired by Nigeria.
The protesters in their thousands gathered at the Leventis Roundabout at about 12:00noon and immediately proceeded towards Katsina road roundabout taking over the popular Ahmadu Bello Way.

Business owners on the road hurriedly shot down their business premises for fear of the unknown. The protesters then moved to Lagos Street roundabout to link up with Sardauna Crescent.

Police team however arrived at the Lagos street roundabout and moved to the dispersed the protesters who remained undeterred as they proceeded with their protest chanting, “Free Zakzaky,” “Free our Leader,” “Zakzaky is not a killer.”

However, pandemonium broke out along Sardauna Crescent by Dan Musa road as sounds of gunshot rank the air and people started running helter-skelter for safety.

The Shi’ites responded by throwing every available missiles they could lay their hands upon back to the police. A police officer was sighted bleeding and being escorted by his colleagues back to their patrol van.

Similarly, some Shi’ite members also suffered gunshot wounds as this Reporter saw them being helped into a vehicle and driven away to unknown destination.

The incident took a dangerous trend when some youth suspected to be members of vigilante group or the dreaded ‘Sara-Suka’ gangster came out enmass to confront the protesting Shiites.

They were seen brandishing their sticks in the air shouting, “Let’s go after them,” “Leave us with them, police.” This created more panic among residents of the area and people took to their heels.

Speaking to this reporter, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) Kaduna State Police Command, ASP Aliyu Mukhtar said the Shi’ites came fully armed and two police officers were injured in the cross-fire.

But in a sharp reaction, the leader of the Shiite in Kaduna State, Sheikh Aliyu Tirmizi, said the Shi’ites came out for a peaceful protest and it was so until the police attacked them and opened fire on them.

According to him, some of their members whose numbers are not ascertained suffered gunshots wounds and a large number of them have been taken away by the police.

He denied the report that the Shi’ites came fully armed, saying it is not in their character to carry arms or any weapons and they will never do that.

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