Heavily armed policemen on Sunday opened fire in Zaria and Kaduna on religious mourners soon after completing this year’s Ashura processions, a religious rite held by Shiites globally on the 10th of Muharram Islamic calendar.
“As a consequence of these unprovoked attacks, two people in Kaduna lost their lives while many others were injured in both Kaduna and Zaria,” Shi’ite spokesperson in Nigeria Ibrahim Musa said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.
“Undoubtedly, these Policemen are taking direct orders of Kaduna state Governor, who also was responsible for similar attack in Kaduna only a week earlier, that also resulted in the death of two people and many houses and vehicles torched by the rampaging Policemen.
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“Besides, similar Ashura processions were held today in major towns and cities across Nigeria including some southern states without any incident. Only in Zaria and Kaduna were brutality and violence meted on the peaceful mourners. A number of arrests was also done by these murderous troops of Kaduna state governor, Elrufai.
“The Islamic Movement hereby calls on all well-meaning Nigerians and the International community to call Elrufai to order to force him to desist from further spill of innocent Shiites blood.
“Attached are pictures of victims of police brutality against Shiites today,” Musa added in a statement that was accompanied by a bloodied body.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna have exacerbated the Sunni-Shia tensions in Nigeria. Both are from the same Muslim sect with ties to Saudi Arabia while the Shi’ites have ties to Iran. Attacks on Shi’ites in Nigeria are the result of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in West Africa.