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Nigerian Army, Police Disrupt Shi’ites Annual Procession In Zaria, Northern Nigeria

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By Amos Tauna

Security operatives on Tuesday disrupted this year’s annual procession of members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, in remembrance of the killing of Zakzaky’s three sons and 31 other members in Zaria, northern Nigeria.

Police and Army coloured helicopters were also seen hovering the area, extending as far as Kaduna city.

This has raised questions among residents of Kaduna, as to what was happening – many expressing fear.

“We started the programme by 8am, around 10am, the security personnel mobilised themselves and met us there. The Army came first and surrounded the place. They didn’t say anything, so we continued,” said Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, one of the organisers.

He said when the police came “They tried to provoke us, but failed. The ACP told his personnel to take position, then they came and told the person preaching that: ‘No problem, no trouble, conclude and go away’. Some of our members recording were stopped and a journalist’s camera was seized.

“They wanted to seize all the cameras but we questioned them because their people were recording, so they decided that even their people should stop recording,” he narrated.

The Sheikh informed that as at the time they were disrupted, they had about 10,000 members in attendance, with several others prevented from entering the venue.

“About 10,000 of us were there, had it been we were not peaceful, they wouldn’t have been able to disperse us,” he added.

One of those prevented from entering the venue, Sheikh Adamu Tsoho who travelled from his base in Jos to attend, described the situation as unfortunate.

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“We arrived around 9:30am. We heard they had blocked the entrance but they didn’t allow us to enter. A lot of people were trapped outside,” he explained.

When reporters sought what attracted heavy deployment of security personnel, the Police Area Commander in charge of Zaria, ACP Ibrahim Abdullahi, told newsmen to leave the area that there was problem.

The event venue at Darurahama, Jos Road, Zaria, was besieged by the security operatives who were with over 18 trucks filled with their personnel

The Group’s leader Sheik El-Zakzaky has been in custody since December 2015. A Nigerian High Court has ordered his release on bail, but Nigerian government is yet to release him.

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