MEMBERS of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shi’ites, on Monday, engaged both the soldiers and members of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja to protest the immediate release of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been in detention for the past one year.
The members, who were said to have mobilized themselves earlier to continue their daily sit out at the Unity Fountain, Maitama, were demobilized by fierce looking mobile police officer before they regrouped and move to Aguiyi-Irosi Street where they vandalized properties and four cars parked by the roadside.
It will be recalled that the daily sit out protest of the Shi’ites had lasted for the past two months at the Unity Fountain, and just a week ago, a new dimension was introduced, where the demonstrators marched in large number and obstruct traffic flows within Abuja.
It was further gathered that the Police later mobilized their officers alongside Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and security dogs to stop the protest. They later applied force to disperse the rioting protesters by firing tear gas and using hot water tanks against them.
Witnesses told the Tribune Online that the protesters dared the security operatives and were not dissuaded by the tear gas and hot water being used by the police against them.
The eye witnesses, Adesola Yaqub, Adewusi Moses and Metu Francis said the protesters faced the police, hauling stones and sticks at them, and chanting anti-Buhari songs.
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According to Adesola Yaqub, “the Shi’ites faced the police with stones and sticks, in fact, it was when the soldiers came that they disappeared, and some of them flew with injuries and blood on their bodies.”
Adewusi Moses said: “I didn’t know what was happening initially because I was selling my soft drinks, but before I could realize it, I was already in their midst, I hurried jumped into a nearby fence to escape from hurt.”
When the Tribune Online visited the scene, there were various signs of violence, with canisters of tear gas, stones and sticks on the roads. Although the protesters had been dispersed, there was a heavy presence of soldiers, police and other plain clothes security agents, who were mounted right from the Federal High Court Junction, to the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) office in Maitaima.
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