ABUJA, July 9 – Nigeria’s National Assembly was on lockdown on Tuesday after shots were fired outside during clashes between police and a group of Shi’ite Muslim protesters.
Both sides blamed the other for the shooting. In a statement, police said two officers were shot and wounded in the legs, and six other officers were injured by individuals using clubs and stones.
But Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, a protester and member of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), told Reuters that police fired the shots, killing two protesters, after they peacefully tried to enter the assembly building.
The Shiites demand the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been detained by the government since December 2015. Over 340 Shiites were killed by the army in December 2015 after the army accused the Islamic sect of blocking a road.
On Tuesday, Anjuguri Manzah, the Abuja police spokesperson, said 40 Shiite protesters were arrested.
“The FCT Police Command has foiled a violent move by members of the El-Zakzakky Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to forcefully invade the National Assembly on Tuesday, 10th July 2019,” the spokesperson said.
Read Mr Manzah’s full statement below.
Police Nab Shiite Members over Attempted Invasion of National Assembly
The FCT Police Command has foiled a violent move by members of the El-Zakzakky Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to forcefully invade the National Assembly on Tuesday, 10th July, 2019.
The group which started its activity, camouflaged in a peaceful procession became violent and were trying to force their way into the National Assembly. Police operatives on the ground, however, acted proactively, professionally and used minimum force to disperse the unruly protesters.
Members of the sect during the violent protest shot two (2) police personnel on the leg, while clubs and stones were used to inflict injuries on six other policemen. The injured policemen have been taken to the hospital for prompt medical attention.
Meanwhile, forty (40) members of the sect have been arrested in connection with the violent protest. Investigation is in progress.
In view of the foregoing, the Command wishes to state unequivocally that while it recognizes and respects the right of citizens to peaceful procession, an attempt by any individual or group of persons to cause the breakdown of law and order will not be tolerated. Those arrested in the process will be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate law of the land.
Members of the public are enjoined to go on with their lawful activities as normalcy has been restored, and adequate security measures have been emplaced by the Command to forestall any security breach.