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Update: Despite Police warning, Shiites in Nigeria’s Capital protest killing of Iran General

Shiites-protest

 

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as the Shiites, on Monday staged a protest in the New Nyanya and Mararaba settlements of Nasarawa State close to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja over the killing of an Iranian Genera, Qassem Soleimani.

This is despite the early warning by the Nigeria Police authorities that all potential troublemakers should steer clear of the streets and territory of Nigeria.

Soleimani was killed by the United States on Friday in Baghdad in a drone strike. American officials said the general had ordered assaults on Americans in Iraq and Syria and was planning a wave of imminent attacks.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had placed Police Commands and formations nationwide on red alert, following the killing of the General, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

According to Police, this was a proactive measure sequel to an intelligence report that some domestic interests were planning to embark on massive public disturbances and sabotage as result of the Iranian General’s death.

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of the Boko Haram group, showed a video in December in which it claimed to have beheaded 11 Nigerian Christians in revenge for America’s killing of  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former IS leader, in a military attack last October in Syria. ISWAP is an affiliate of the IS.

Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Force Public Relations Officer, in a statement said consequently, Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General, and Command Commissioners of Police have been directed to ensure maximum surveillance and security of lives and property across the nation.

Mba said the Police Commanders had been directed to ensure strategic deployments of both overt and covert Police operatives to ensure adequate security and safety of citizens, foreigners especially diplomats and diplomatic missions domiciled in Nigeria as well as the protection of critical national assets.

However, members of the IMN, which is linked to Iran, trooped out in their numbers protesting en route New Nyanya and Mararaba to converge at the popular AYA Bridge in the nation’s Capital, Abuja, but they were intercepted by officers and men of the Nigeria Police.

The protesters blocked the busy Keffi Abuja highway, causing a traffic gridlock up to the AYA Bridge, which impeded movement by commuters.

No casualty was recorded at the time of this protest as Police only ensured the protesters did not make further movement into the FCT.

Shiites last year staged violent protests in Abuja calling for the release of their detained leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky. In one of the protests, a senior Police officer, and a Channels TV reporter, Precious Owolabi, were killed as the protesters and Police exchanged gunfire in Nigeria’s capital city.

 

 

 

James Kwen, Abuja