The Blood of Shi’ites in Northern Nigeria

At least 10 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria got killed in Kaduna (Kaduna State) and Funtua (Katsina State) on Wednesday. There was no casualty in Jos, the Plateau State capital, even as states like Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto and Taraba have sent warning signals.

Members of the IMN, popularly called Shi’ites, were marking the “Ashura” festival with processions.  But the Kaduna State government led by Nasir el-Rufai had outlawed the sect last week. So, when worshippers gathered to commemorate the “Ashura” – a ceremony to remember a grandson of Prophet Muhammad – armed soldiers encircled the venue.

Independent accounts say that mobs gathered and soon confronted the Shi’ites, leading to several deaths and destruction of property.

A similar scenario played out in Funtua where up to eight lay dead.

In Jos, those who were preparing to join the procession were turned back with tear gas.

The governments of northern states have been warned against stoking another rebellion similar to the one staged by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram became a terror group after its leader was killed extra-judicially in July 2009. Attacks by the group have killed no fewer than 23, 000 since then. The Nigerian government claims it has defeated Boko Haram, yet even this Wednesday it exploded a bomb that killed up to a dozen in Maiduguri.

IMN leader Ibrahim  El-zakzaky has been in custody since December 2015 after members of the group were massacred during a confrontation with soldiers.

Photographs of Shi’ites in procession in some foreign countries show fanatics shedding their own blood by inflicting injuries on themselves. The Nigerian adherents are not shedding blood by choice.

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