Many have lost their lives (including a Deputy Commissioner of Police), as police and Shiites clashed in Abuja (the countries capital).
Protest staged by members of the Shiites movement turned bloody earlier today, July 22nd 2019, after some members of the movement engaged the police in a fierce gun battle at the Central Business District in Abuja.
At least four members of the group are said to have been killed in the capital Abuja.
The police had asked them not to stage any protest, however the Shiites who are demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim ElZakzaky, dared the police and took their protest to the Central Business district.
Efforts by the police to stop them from staging the protest turned bloody within minutes as gun shots were fired by the Shiites and the police.
Deputy Commissioner of police in charge of Operations at the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, DCP Umar, was shot dead in the cross fire between police officers and protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria aka Shi’ites in Abuja earlier today.
Umar was reportedly shot dead while trying to calm the fraying nerves of the Shiites who had disrupted activities at the Central Business Disrict in Abuja. He was rushed to a close-by hospital where he died.
A source in the FCT command who confirmed the demise of the Deputy Commissioner to Punch, said:
“The DCP was a very good man. We were at the mosque last Friday when he saw one man looking so haggard. The man told him how he had not been paid for over 14 months because he was unable to complete his IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information.)
“On hearing that the man was an Inspector, DCP Umar hugged him and immediately made calls to the officers in charge of the platform and the budget office. Today, the Inspector has been directed to come to the IPPIS office for enrollment on the platform. His death is so shocking.”
Mahdi Garba, a member of the Shia movement, told Al Jazeera that Monday’s protest started peacefully with supporters chanting “Free Zakzaky” but their members were attacked by the police.
“The total number of casualties is yet to be ascertained but for now four persons confirmed dead and many injured,” Garba said.
Another eyewitness said police fired live ammunition and tear gas canisters at the protesters in an area that houses the parliament building, executive, and judicial arm.
“Shots were fired as I came out of a building in the central area, which was packed with civil servants during their lunch break,” Fakhuus Hashim, who witnessed the clashes, told Al Jazeera.
“Everyone started running and more shots were fired. They [protesters] burned the fire service station beside the ministry of foreign affairs,” he added
For more than three decades, the Shia Muslim group has had regular run-ins with security forces in Nigeria, and according to multiple sources, about 400 members of the group have been killed by the police since 2015.