Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise called Shiite and police, clashed in Abuja on the third day running on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, with many residents of Nigeria’s capital city advised to stay indoors to avoid being hit by flying stones or teargas fumes.

“There’s plenty of teargas fumes in the air right now. The Shiite protesters marched on the streets with stones and sticks and the police had to disperse them with live bullets and teargas canisters”, one eyewitness told Pulse.

Henry Okelue who resides in Abuja tweeted that rioting Shiites set a police truck on fire on Ademola Adetokunbo street, right in the heart of Abuja.


“It is sad that the bulk of the foot soldiers that the IMN is using for the riots are minors”, Okelue wrote.

Social media users have been sharing footage of today’s clash, while advising motorists and commuters to stay away from Wuse Zone 2.

In the background, sporadic gunshots can be heard.


Frequent Shiite-security clashes

There are reports that security personnel have shot at a couple of Shiite protesters on the third day of clashes, but Pulse cannot independently verify those at the moment.

On Monday, October 29, Pulse reported that clashes between Shiite protesters and soldiers led to the deaths of over 10 members of the IMN. The army issued a statement to say only three persons were killed.

The Shiite protesters are calling for the release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who was arrested following a crackdown of his sect in Zaria in December of 2015.


Shiite Muslims clash with police in Abuja (Twitter/@GbemiDennis)


Zakzaky has been calling for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution which is at odds with the secularity of the Nigerian State. Majority of northern Nigeria is Sunni Muslim.

Could Shiite clashes lead to another Boko Haram scenario?

There are fears that the latest clashes between Zakzaky’s followers and the security authorities could spark a repeat of the Boko Haram style radicalization in northern Nigeria.

AFP writes that in 2009, Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf and 800 of his followers, were killed in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, forcing the group underground.

Boko Haram then re-emerged a more deadly force under Yusuf’s deputy, Abubakar Shekau. The group has killed more than 50,000 people and displaced millions since 2009.

“It appears we are not learning from our past mistakes,” security analyst Amaechi Nwokolo, told AFP.

Trial of Shiite leader, El-Zakzaky, wife adjourned to June 21play

Shiite leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has been in police custody since 2015 (TheCable)


Nwokolo added that security personnel have “no right to use maximum force” on unarmed protesters, warning that it might “motivate others to radicalise”.

“If we go back to the formative days of Boko Haram, it was the killing of some innocent people that actually galvanised recruitment. That’s how terrorism works,”Nwokolo adds.

Nigeria is still battling the Boko Haram menace in the northeast, even though the federal government often claims that the group has been technically defeated.


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