Amnesty International says the shootings of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as the Shi’ites, by the police must be investigated.
On Monday, IMN members protested the continued detention of Ibrahim Zakzaky, their leader.
During the protest, the group clashed with the security agents, leading to the reported killing of 17 IMN members.
Reacting to the incident , Seun Bakare, programme manager at Amnesty International Nigeria, described the shooting by the police as “a reckless use of lethal force.”
He said the police were expected to observe restraint at all times, with a use of force “when strictly necessary.”
Bakare said the chasing of the protesters, who were exercising their freedom of expression, showed that the police resorted to force rather than the provisions of the law.
He urged Nigerian authorities to investigate the incident and ensure that justice is served.
“Eyewitnesses have told us that six people were shot dead amid a reckless use of lethal force by the Nigerian police against unarmed supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) today. This new crackdown is part of a shocking pattern in which security forces have used live ammunition to disperse IMN supporters who are simply exercising their freedom of expression,” he said.
“Images of IMN supporters being driven from the streets of Abuja with gunfire demonstrates once again the Nigerian authorities’ resolve to use lethal force rather than the rule of law in addressing the grievances of the IMN.
“The Nigerian authorities must promptly investigate in an independent and impartial manner the police shootings and bring to justice all those suspected of criminal responsibility in fair trials. The police must exercise restraint at all times and use force only when strictly necessary.”
Usman Umar, deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations in the federal capital territory (FCT), was killed during the clash between Shi’ites and the Nigerian police.
A reporter of Channels Television was also shot dead.