These are unsettling times for the residence of Abuja as the ongoing clash between the Nigerian police and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites continued yesterday at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The ugly scene started when members of IMN, who were on a march along Adetokunbo Ademola Way, Wuse Zone 2, engaged policemen that were positioned to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
The protesting Shi’ites set a Police patrol vehicle ablaze and refused to back down from engaging the security authority. The Shi’ites had on Monday, engaged soldiers at Nyanya, while on procession from Mararaba, Nasarawa State, and the confrontation led to several deaths of their members while four soldiers while reportedly injured.
FCT Commissioner of Police, CP Bala Ciroma, have confirmed the clash, while revealing that 400 violent Shiite members, who perpetrated the mayhem, had been arrested and detained for investigation.
Speaking while parading some of the suspects, Ciroma said: “The FCT Police Command, in furtherance of its continuous effort to provide adequate security, protect lives and property and prevent any breakdown of law and order, intercepted and arrested some members of El-Zakzaky Islamic Movement of Nigeria with 31 bottles of petrol bombs and other dangerous weapons being ferried into FCT to cause mayhem and attack innocent citizens, including law enforcement agents deployed to protect lives and property.
“It is unfortunate to inform you that members of this group during a violent protest today (yesterday), without any provocation, went on rampage and burnt down a Police Rapid Response Squad patrol vehicle deployed at Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent.
“Some arrests have been made and investigation is in progress. Among those arrested is Mustapha Abdullahi, 20, at Ungwan Gwari Suleija, with 18 bottles of petrol bombs carefully concealed in a traveling bag. To smuggle himself and the petrol bombs into the city, he disguised as a passenger and boarded a taxi with other unsuspecting passengers.
“He ran out of luck when the vigilant policemen on duty at the point, upon reasonable suspicion, intercepted the cab and conducted a search on the bag in the car, which had in it, the improvised bombs.
“The suspect was immediately arrested. Other exhibits found on him are two lighters and one dagger. The suspect will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation. “Similarly, on the same date, at about 11.30 am, police operatives on stop and search at Dokwa FCT-Niger boundary arrested one Abdulllahi Umar, 22, of Gadan Karte, Ilela LGA of Sokoto State with a bag containing 13 well-packaged bottles of petrol bombs.
“During interrogation, the suspect confessed that he arrived Suleija from Sokoto State on Sunday to join other members of their sect for the protest. In conclusion, I want to bring to your knowledge that a total of 400 members of El-Zakzakky Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, who participated in the violent protest of Tuesday (yesterday) are currently being detained for discreet investigation. Dangerous weapons were also recovered from them.”
According to report, the police have beefed up security around entrances to the State House with officers stationed opposite the Fire Service, the entrance to the State House, before the barricade mounted by a combined team of operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, the Police and the Army.