The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ia sect, has alleged that the police is planning to bury its members killed on Monday in a mass grave.
The police allegedly opened fire on Shi’ites, who were embarking on the “Arbaeen” trek from Kano to Kaduna.
In a statement issued by Ibrahim Musa, spokesman of the group, the sect asked security personnel to release the corpses of its dead members.
“Well armed police men in close to a hundred police trucks today 14/11/16, opened fire on the peaceful Arbaeen trek to Zaria in the outskirts of Kano metropolis, killing close to a hundred members of the Islamic movement (IMN), including women and children,” the statement read.
“Exact number of those killed or maimed by police bullets is still being ascertained since most of the corpses were again ferried away by the police possibly for mass burial.
“We also call on the police authorities to hand over to us our dead. They must not be buried in a mass grave like was done by their counterpart in Kaduna state,it is a crime against humanity.”
He explained that the trek, which the police had tried to stop, had been conducted in an orderly manner over the years.
“Because of the massive turnout, the trek continued and when IMN members reached a neighbourhood called Kwanar Dawaki, about five Kilometres from Kano, police opened fire on the trekkers with live ammunition. The firing by the police was randomly carried out. It also hit their colleague, and we are not unmindful of possibility that they would claim we did it,” Ibrahim said.
“Their antecedents and evil schemes are glaring. Already, they have engaged the services of unscrupulous paid agents to push down the throats of the public that it was ‘clash’ or even ‘exchange of fire’ through falsified news reports. What vindicates us however is the very peaceful conduct of previous and present treks.
“The World bears witness to our peaceful conduct in the face of persecution. No one can simply attribute violence to us overnight. We learnt of the attack as it was being plotted and we exposed it much earlier. That the security forces brazenly executed it in broad daylight only further exposes who actually are the assailants.
“IMN is left bewildered as to why it is now criminal for some people to choose to trek to a certain town of their wish on foot, while not impeding the smooth flow of traffic along the highway. We view the unwarranted killings by the police as continuation of the army pogrom started in Zaria last year.
“We hereby call on the governor of Kano state not to turn the recently peaceful atmosphere enjoyed in the state into one where innocent lives are being shed on the slightest excuse.”
Musa also reiterated the call for the unconditional release of Ibraheem Zakzaky, leader of the sect, and all those arrested with him.
A testifier, who appeared before the panel, which the Kaduna government set up to probe the clash between the military and the sect, spoke on how 347 Shi’ites were buried in a mass grave.