Scores wounded as police, Nigeria’s Shi’ites clash in Sokoto

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One person was reportedly killed on Friday during a clash between the police and followers of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shi’ite group) in Sokoto State.

Residents said the incident occurred at Dambuwa roundabout in Sokoto metropolis.

The clash caused pandemonium among residents and many traders reportedly shut down their businesses and fled for safety.

The Shi’ites, who were protesting the continued incarceration of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, reportedly chanted derogatory words against the president, Muhammadu Buhari.

This set the stage for an eventual clash with the police.

The group has consistently protested in parts of the north, the federal capital territory inclusive. One of their recent confrontations with the police in Abuja led to the death of a journalist and a police officer.
Police react

The police spokesperson in Sokoto, Muhammed Sadiq, in a statement on Saturday, explained what happened.

He said the group came out to protest “with the intention to cause unrest, but they were subdued by the police.”

The police, however, were silent on the reported death and number of casualties.

Below is Mr Sadiq’s full statement:

Preliminary investigation revealed that a group of people suspected to be members of the proscribed Shi’ite Group, came out along Old Airport road with intent of carrying out a procession.

Upon confirmation of intention by security operatives, the gathering was immediately dispersed using minimal force, while the said suspected members got busy pelting stones on operatives and operational vehicles with intent to escalate the situation.

However, the situation was seamlessly brought under control shortly after the situation came to fore by the Joint Operatives.

The Sokoto State Police Command calls for calm as normalcy has since been restored and urge members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without any fear as the Command has emplaced adequate security arrangements to forestall any reoccurrence of such.

The Command wishes all and sundry a crime free season.

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