Two members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) killed in Abuja last week by the police during a protest staged to demand the release of their leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, have been buried.
On April 14, members of IMN, also known as Shi’ites, embarked on their daily protest, rallying around the streets of Abuja to express displeasure over the “illegal detention” of their leader.
While marching along Wuse II road, adjacent the Banex Plaza in Abuja, the police shot sporadically to disperse the protesters, killing two of Shi’ites and injuring another five.
“Instantly, Mushin Jafar succumbed to martyrdom and died,” Abdullahi Junaidu, a member of the group, told FIJ. “We were never violent with the protest; we were peaceful.”
Few days after, Hassan Abubakar, another member who was hit by police bullets, also died and was buried as a Shi’ite Muslim at the Martyr Cemetery in Dembo area of Zaria, Kaduna State.
Announcing Hassan’s death, Abdullahi said: “Funeral prayer of martyr Hassan Abubakar who succumbed to martyrdom yesterday after being shot in the head by Nigerian police during daily #FreeZakzaky protests in Abuja, capital of Nigeria.”
FIJ received verified pictures showing the lifeless bodies of the two victims, including other members who survived gunshot injuries during the protest.
Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat have been in detention since December 2015. They face trial for charges, including unlawful assembly, culpable homicide and disruption of public peace.
IMN, Zakzaky’s group, was banned in July 2019, after a series of deadly clashes with police. The group had alleged that the police were responsible for the death of at least 20 of its members before it was banned.
In September of the same year, the group alleged that police killed 12 of its members and wounded 10 others during marches in Kaduna to mark the religious commemoration known as Ashoura.
The police have had a series of face-offs with members of the Islamic group since Zakazaky was detained. Many cases of extrajudicial killings of members of the group had been reported; the recent April 14 incident was just one of them.
Aremu Adeniran, the Police Public Relation Officer in Abuja, feigned ignorance of the incident when contacted by FIJ. He asked the reporter to go to the FCT Police Quarters to ask whether the police killed the protesters.
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