At least 10 people were reportedly killed and scores injured on Wednesday in violent clashes between Shiite Muslims, civilians and security forces across northern Nigeria, according to members of the pro-Iran group Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and witnesses.
Despite being banned in Kaduna State, thousands of IMN members had taken to the streets for the annual Ashura march, a major Shiite festival.
Soldiers and police allegedly opened fire on a procession in the town of Funtua in Katsina State, killing 10 people and injuring scores of others, IMN spokesman Husseini Yero told AFP.
“We now have the dead bodies of 10 of our members killed by soldiers and policemen who opened fire on our procession,” Yero said.
Two Funtua residents, who claimed anonymity, confirmed seeing 10 corpses and “several” people were injured.
The violence comes less than a week after Governor Nasir El-Rufai banned the group as an “unlawful society”, saying it was a security threat and calling for security forces to “vigorously” arrest its members.
In the city of Kaduna, a mob looted and torched the home of the IMN leader in the city.
Hundreds of men sacked the home of Mukhtar Sahabi in the Tudun Wada area before setting it on fire.
“We are still trying to confirm the fate of two of our members that were in the house,” said IMN member, Ishaq Saleh.
“We are afraid they might have been killed.”
In Kano, dozens were injured when mobs attacked the IMN procession with stones, police said.
“The IMN procession was attacked by hoodlums who pelted them with stones for blocking the roads, which denied many people access to the market and the main hospital in the city,” said Kano police spokesman Magaji Majia.
“We treated 17 people injured by the mob in our clinic and rescued 138 IMN women from the mob.”