Over a dozen people including a police officer are feared dead as members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria on Monday morning clashed with the police in Kano city.
A witness said the clash started around Tamburawa, on the outskirts of Kano city, when the police tried to stop a Shiite protest.
The police have since deployed heavily armed mobile police officers to the area while the major Kano-Zaria road is completely blocked.
On Saturday, members of the Islamic Movement marched in Kaduna to demand the release of their spiritual leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The protesters reportedly closed down the popular Ahmadu Bello way causing heavy traffic on the road, as they chanted “We are not terrorist, we are Nigerians, free our leader, free El-Zakzaky”.
As they walked through the busy Gumi market, they sang praises of El-Zakzaky and called on the government to release him from detention.
One of the Shiite protesters who spoke to a reporter said: “We are not afraid of anybody. All we are asking is for the government to release our leader. I am not afraid of death.”
El-Zakzaky has been detained without trial, by the Nigerian government since December after over 300 members of his group were killed by soldiers.
The army said the members blocked a public road and plotted to kill the Army chief, Tukur Buratai, a claim the Shiites denied.
In October, Kano police banned IMN from conducting street processions ahead of the annual Ashura rites.
Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai banned the group as an “unlawful society”, saying it was a security threat and calling for security forces to “vigorously” arrest its members
Both Local and international human rights groups have condemned the killings and called for the prosecution of the soldiers involved.
More Details on the latest protest to come later…