Nigerian Troops Open Fire on Shiite Muslim Protesters in Zaria, 5 Reported Dead
An annual march of a Shiite Muslim group in Zaria, Kaduna State turned bloody on Friday as troops from the Nigeria army reportedly opened fire on the protesters killing at least five of them, including the son of the leadership group, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky.
Known as ‘Quds Day’, the procession is an annual ritual held on the last Friday of every Ramadan season, during which thousands of faithful walk around the city dressed in black.
This year, the Shiites dedicated the march to protesting the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.
Although it is not immediately clear what led to incidence, residents said soldiers exchanged fire with members of the group who were on a procession around the PZ area of the town.
“Mahmood, one of Shiekh Ibrahim El-Zakzaki’s son is shot and the second son Ahmed was arrested and taken away by the security. Mahmood is however, not dead,” a witness said.
Aside the eleven people reportedly shot and killed by the troops, about 40 other members of the group were said to have sustained various degrees of injuries.
There have been no official reaction from the military. The spokesperson for 1 Mechanized Division Nigeria Army, Usman Abdullahi, said he will give details later.
Mr. Zakzakky, a known foe of Islamist sect Boko Haram, has been in the news in the past few months following allegations that a government sponsored agents made an attempt on his life at his home in Zaria.
Zaria is the second major city in Kaduna State, and near the state capital, Kaduna, where twin bomb blasts killed more than 40 people on Wednesday.
The city is regarded as the spiritual centre of the radical Islamic groups in Nigeria.