SaharaReporters has learned of reports from across Nigeria of state security agencies targeting and committing violent acts against Shiite Muslims during their peaceful processions today. Today, Wednesday October 12th, marks an important religious holiday for Shiites across the Muslim world.
Shiite sources speaking to SaharaReporters in Kaduna State disclosed that at least four unarmed civilians were murdered today from, they argue, a mob that included plain clothes police officers in it.
“There were more than four deaths today in Kaduna but some bodies were taken” by the police, according to one source speaking on the condition of anonymity.
This same source said that he could not confirm the number of injuries because “when we were attacked people had just finished our procession and were going home.”
SaharaReporters has published a series of reports on state-sponsored violence against the Shiite group the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Kaduna State this week. Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai banned the group on Friday of last week and declared its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, wanted by the police. IMN has been placing the Kaduna government under intense pressure for its role in covering up a brutal massacre killing more than 350 Shiites in Zaria last December 2015.
According to statements by Mr. Musa today, and other reports across northern Nigeria, SaharaReporters has been told that there have been coordinated attacks targeting Shiites peacefully celebrating the holiday of Muharram today.
These attacks include Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, and Plateau States and were executed by police resulting in deaths and injuries of peaceful Shiites.
Mr. Musa said that Shiites were “attacked by a combined force of security agents and others dressed as hoodlums as well as paid thus escorting them, resulting in deaths in Funtua, Sokoto, and Kaduna of at least 13.”
He added that police fired “teargas canisters on the procession [in Funtua] and opened fire with live bullets killing nine instantly and injuring about 20 others.”
Another source said that he had reports that schools, residential homes, and religious sites were attacked and burned down. This source believed that police were culpable because security vehicles and personnel were nearby and refused to respond to the dire situation.