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At least one person has been injured as Nigeria Police Force dispersed Shi’a Muslims observing the annual Arba’een trek on Friday in Abuja.
A top member of the Islamic sect said that the police not only dispersed them by firing teargas cannisters and gunshots in the air but also arrested no fewer than 15 demonstrators.
The Shi’ites planned to hold a nationwide procession on Saturday in commemoration of their annual Arbaeen trek but had rescheduled to Friday because of alleged plots by security operatives to hire hoodlums to infiltrate their ranks and set selected government property ablaze.
Arbaeen is a Shiite annual religious practice usually conducted on 20th Safar of Islamic calendar to mark the 40th day of the murder of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad who was killed on 10th Muharram.
“We came out today for our Arba’een trek and the police attacked us, and arrested some of worshippers. In the process of the arrest, one person was shot and several others sustained various levels of injury.
“We rescheduled the trek because intelligence at our disposal revealed plots by Security agents to use hoodlums to set specific government buildings ablaze and blame it on us,” the source said.
Following the development, the Academic Forum of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria signed by its secretary, Abdullahi Musa expressed sadness over the incident, read: “We trek, mourning Imam Husain’s Arbaeen. By extension, the fortieth day from the tragic Ashura is termed as the Arbaeen, a commemorating period for humanity. Imam Hussain ibn Ali (AS), his immediate family and his companions were brutally killed in the plain of Karbala on 10th October, 680 by Yazid bn Muawiyyah.
“As the only ray of hope, shining with excellent brightness, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) stood against oppression and injustice, the result of which is sacrifice non-such. One needs not be Muslim to acknowledge this tragedy, just as one needs not have any religious affinity to to lend a voice of support to oppressed people, anywhere in the world. Thus, as tragic and mournful as the day is, it is equally symbolically significant, and the Imam is for all and humanity.
“This year Arabaeen symbolic trek here in Abuja had been scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, 19 October, 2019. However, another evil plan, of which we were reliably informed, has made it a near impossibility, for safety of the populace and public properties.
“We discovered that the Police and other security agents have schemed to cause mayhem and violence to enable them put the blame on Sheikh Zakzaky’s followers so as to accuse them of being responsible for it, like they did on the 22nd July, 2019 at Federal Secretariat, where they killed a senior Police officer and a journalist.he
“Having observed that in the weekend some journalists may not be available to monitor and cover the happenings, an alternative was sought. Public safety together with properties is really prime, and we decided against tomorrow for today Friday, 18 October, 2019. In spite of the rescheduling, police attacked the peacefully solemn match, tear-gassing, arresting and molesting the trekkers.
“The general public could recall the grave atrocities committed by the Nigerian Army in Zaria in December, 2015 where more than a thousand followers of Sheikh Zakzaky were killed. Ever since then, the Sheikh, his wife and numerous others are under illegal detention.
“In like manner, last year the army killed more than 50 trekkers in Abuja during Arbaeen trek. We condemn all forms of tyranny and urge the public to unite and challenge oppression, the way Imam Hussain did during Yazid, as tyranny and humanity are mutually exclusive”.
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