Fifty-two members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have been arrested in Abuja.
The Abuja police command, which announced this in a statement on Wednesday, said it recovered “some bottles of improvised petrol-bomb” from the IMN members who were demanding the release of Ibrahim Zakzaky, their leader.
Earlier on Wednesday, the police cracked down on the IMN members, popularly known as Shi’ites.
An unconfirmed number of persons were injured during the incident which occurred at Area 2 junction, Abuja.
Giving reasons for the clampdown, the police said the Shi’ites “went on rampage and were attacking innocent citizens including police operatives”.
“The FCT police command has arrested some members of the sect and recovered some bottles of improvised petrol-bomb, stones and catapult used by members of the sect to attack police operatives and damage police operational vehicles,” the police said in a statement.
The command also added that the Shi’ites’ protest, which started on Monday, “is constituting a serious security threat to the peace of the federal capital territory”.
The statement, signed by Anjuguri Manzah, the command spokesman, added: “In view of the current security situation in the country, the command wishes to unequivocally state that while it will continue to be professional in the discharge of its constitutional and statutory roles; and equally recognise the rights of citizens to express their lawful grievances, the command will not fold its arms and watch some persons hold the capital city to ransom by disrupting government and legitimate business activities.
“In view of the foregoing, the command wants to state that any person or group of persons arrested for violating the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution while registering their protest will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the appropriate section(s) of the law.
“Meanwhile, the fifty-two (52) members of the El-Zakzaky group arrested by police operatives during the violent protest that left some policemen with injury will be charged to court upon the conclusion of the investigation.”