Nine people including a security official were killed yesterday when policemen and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiites) clashed.
The police confirmed that an officer was killed while four others, including a Deputy Superintendent, were injured during the clash that began early yesterday along Kwanar Dawaki and Tamburawa village, in Dawaki Local Government Area.
Briefing the media in his office, the Police Commissioner, Alhaji Rabiu Yusuf, regretted that eight Shiites died while scores among them were injured.
He said several Shiites had been arrested by the police, adding that they would be charged to court after investigation.
He said “today, (November 14) at about 800 hours, thousands of Shiite members obstructed motorists and other road users along Kwanar Dawaki and Tamburawa village in Dawaki LGA. They attacked innocent citizens, damaged public and personal property, thereby causing mayhem that could lead to general disturbance.”
Yusuf said his officers stepped in with a view to ensuring the peace and safety of the people, adding that the sect members attacked them.
He claimed that the Shiites were armed with bows and arrows, catapults with metal bolts, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, adding that they snatched an AK47 from an officer with which they also used in attacking the police.
Asked why his officers used live ammunition on the Shiites, he said: “At first, we used tear-gas on them, but they attacked one of our officers who died before he could be taken to the hospital. And we have no option, but to use minimal force on them.”
The commissioner said normalcy had been restored, advising the people to go about their normal businesses without fear.
A witness who is a teacher (Malam) in the Movement, Sanusi Abdulkadir, explained that the members were trekking to Zaria as part of their annual visit, only for their religious trip to be obstructed by the police.
“It was about 8:00 am when suddenly they attacked us. They used teargas on us and later guns. They killed many of us- women and children inclusive,” he lamented.
He claimed that the sect had briefed the state police command of the trek, adding that the police had declined to give consent because they had directive from above not to allow the procession to take place.
Meanwhile, the Shiites have asked police to release the corpses, insisting that their deceased members must not be buried in a mass grave as was the fate of their counterparts in Kaduna.
A statement signed by Ibrahim Musa, the President, Media Forum of the Movement, said, “we call on the police authorities to hand over to us our dead. They must not be buried in a mass grave like was done to their counterparts in Kaduna.”
The statement, which also demanded the release of their leader, , Sheikh El Zakzaky and all their members that were illegally being detained , appealed to Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to protect the lives of innocent citizens in the state.