This time Shiites’ procession ends peacefully - The Naija Weekly

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

This time Shiites’ procession ends peacefully


The procession was brief, about 30 minutes, and without bloodshed. Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly called Shiites observed the Day of Ashura, an event they light candles and perform some rituals in remembrance of one of their leaders Hussein Ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, who died in the Battle of Karbala. The event, held on Tuesday in Wuse, Abuja, is marked across the globe.
A member of the group, Abdullahi Musa said, “We quickly did the procession starting from Wuse market at about 8:00am to 8:30am through to Berger Roundabout. We are not many like in other years. Police did not stop or disturb us. The procession was peaceful and well organised.”
The Shiites have not always had things that easy and violence-free. Neither had the security forces had fun containing them. Since 2015 the worshippers and security operatives have often clashed, leaving a large number of the worshippers dead and a larger number injured.
In late October 2018, about 45 people died, and many more injured, according to reports.
In another confrontation in Abuja, in July, there were also deaths not just of Shiites but security men as well.
The security forces have been criticised for using “shocking and unconscionable force” in controlling the group members, who have sworn to continue their protests until their leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, detained since 2015, is released.
But on Tuesday, all was calm in Abuja as the Shiites marched, though heavy armed police presence was reported in the nation’s capital.
This was because both sides seem to have learnt their lessons. The Shiites were not prepared for any bloody eventuality, neither were the security forces.
The police were more on the ground at the Federal Secretariat, and at major roads leading into Abuja and its environs to prevent crisis.
IMN had on Monday petitioned the Human Rights Commission, United Nations and the European Union over Tuesday’s Ashura procession which it claimed that the police are preparing to disrupt and attack it members. The police did indeed direct the IMN members not to engage in any procession.
Thankfully, there were no ugly developments.

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