Twelve people were killed in kaduna and Katsina states Wednesday as security agencies prevented Shi’ites from performing the Ashura festival, to mark the Martyrdom of a grandson of the prophet Mohammed, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has said. The siege that lead to the death of Worshippers in Kaduna, began on Monday, according to the commission.
The IHRC, said it has credible evidence that the worshipers were “trapped” inside the mosque, and called on the Nigerian authorities to withdraw the soldiers and “allow the worshippers to continue to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of assembly and worship”.
“The worshippers have gathered to commemorate historical events associated with the Islamic month of Muharram that are particularly significant in the Shia calendar”, the advocacy organisation said.
“Shortly before the the Kaduna Markaz mosque on Zango Road was encircled armoured military vehicles carrying heavily armed soldiers and also an ambulance were among a convoy of 18 military vehicles seen nearby.”
An an eyewitness at the scene of the Kaduna incident, said that in spite of the tension generated by the activities of the security agencies, Monday’s event took place without incidents but the siege continued on Wednesday, which ultimately led to the burning of the mosque.
According to him,“The attacks started when the security besieged the IMN centre shooting teargas after which they invited hoodlums who burned down the Muslim centre in Tudun Wada.”
“Two people were killed by hoodlums invited by police who have also ordered them to kill any IMN member at sight. They were slaughtered in the presence of police. There are several other people injured”.
The Islamic HumanRight Commission also reported fatalities from other northern states where the Ashura processions took place.
“At least nine people are reported killed after security forces opened fire with live rounds on followers of IMNthe Islamic Movement of Nigeria taking part in a procession in Funtua in Katsina state.
“Troops are currently attacking the IMN centre with tear gas and live rounds in the city of Jos in Plateau state, inside which several people including a leader of the IMN, Sheikh Adamu Tsohos, are trapped.
“Sheikh Adamu Tsohos’s house in Jos was also reportedly under attack. Earlier people were stopped and arrested or turned back as they made their way into Jos to participate in the religious procession”, according to IHRC.