Nigerian police shoot at Islamic commemoration, fatalities reported


At least two people have been reported killed with many more injured in the Nigerian capital Abuja after police opened fire with live ammunition at a peaceful procession of Shia Muslims marking the 40th day anniversary of Ashura.

Tens of thousands of people were taking part in the annual commemoration when they were fired upon without provocation.

Arbaeen and Ashura processions have taken place throughout Nigeria for 40 years but in recent times have faced brutal attacks as the government has cracked down on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and its leadership which organises the marches.

Since 2016 there have been systematic attacks by police and hired thugs resulting in hundreds of fatalities and many properties belonging to supporters of the Islamic Movement being damaged or destroyed.

The Islamic Movement’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, and his wife were recently released after being illegally detained for five years by Nigerian authorities as part of a witch hunt against the movement which has cost well over a thousand lives.

Since their arrest in 2015, Nigerian authorities have regularly targeted the peaceful marches and religious gatherings that take place on Ashura and its fortieth day anniversary known as Arbaeen, attacking protestors with live ammunition.

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