Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Police Opens Fire On Shia Muslims Celebrating The Ashura Festival In Nigeria (Graphics)

Nine people have been reportedly killed after police opened fire on a procession of Shia Muslims celebrating the Ashura festival in Nigeria. Ashura day falls on the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

This year celebration falls on Tuesday 11 October, though the festival begins for observant Muslims at sunset on Monday. It is marked by all Muslims, and commemorations can include a voluntary fast.

Images on social media appeared to show at least three women among the bodies of those killed in the clashes in the town of Funtua, in the north-western Katsina state.

According to BBC News. An eyewitness said the army and police had tried to block the procession, which commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. He said police then opened fire on the crowd, and while he had seen only eight bodies, many more were feared wounded.

Islamic Human Rights Commission based in the UK said it received information suggesting soldiers had used live ammunition and tear gas as clashes broke out. Katsina, like some other northern Nigerian states, had tried to ban public Ashura event.

The IHRC said it had also received reports of police setting fire to the Kaduna Markaz mosque in Kaduna city, the main mosque used by the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

"Today's violence confirmed fears that the Nigerian authorities would seek to sabotage the annual commemoration of Ashura in the country," it said in a statement.