Police opened fire on a procession of Shia Muslims in Abuja killing a 15-year-old boy, the largest organisation representing Shias in the country says.
Dozens of others were injured in the incident which occurred on friday April 14, as a procession of members of the Shia organisation the Islamic Movement in Nigeria moved through the Wuse district of the capital, the IMN said in a press release.
A group of hundreds of people from the organisation were marking International Quds Day, the procession was to show solidarity with Palestinians, and the attack was unprovoked, the organisation said in its statement.
The FCT Police Command spokesperson, Josephine Adeh when contacted said “no comment” and hung up the phone.
An eyewitness told HumAngle the procession, waving Palestinian flags and bearing pictures of prominent Shia clerics, was proceeding “calmly” from the Fouad Labibidi Mosque in Wuse Zone 3, toward Berger Roundabout when it encountered a checkpoint of the Nigerian Police Force and they began firing at the crowd.
People living in the area said they heard dozens of shots fired.
The child who was killed was named as 15-year-old Yaqoub Umar.
The IMN released pictures of a man carrying a bloodied body, running to seek medical attention. It also released pictures of the slain young man in life, wearing sunglasses and a keffiyeh scarf. The release said he had been “martyred”.
In a statement issued after the attack, the IMN said, “expressing support for the oppressed is part of our religious duties, and the police have no right to stop us from exercising our religious duties and beliefs. We consider the attack barbaric and unprofessional.”
For 30 years, the Movement has conducted similar processions, some have ended in bloodshed. In September 2009, three people were killed in the same event while in July 2014, 35 people were killed, including three sons of the Movement leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
In March six young supporters of the IMN were killed in Kaduna when a street protest met a government convoy and the police escort opened fire. The Kaduna police said the protestors were the aggressors and it had acted “professionally”.
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