Nigeria: Gunshots in Abuja as Police Disperse Protesting Shi’ites

The police have dispersed a procession of members of the banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria who trooped out to call for the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The protest started on Sultan Abubakar Way, Abuja, at about 1:55 p.m. Friday.

The protesters in their numbers hoisted two flags, one red and the other black, with the chant: “Labaika yah Hussein. Free El-Zakzaky”, loosely translated as “Welcome you Hussein. Free El-Zakzaky”.

Hussein, one of the grandsons of Prophet Muhammad, is seen by the Shi’ites as their third imam.

As the protesters marched, a team of police officers followed behind, shooting in the air and firing tear gas canisters.

Soon, the procession of protesters thinned out, with members blending with other Muslim worshipers returning from Friday jummah prayer.

But the police trailed the procession down to Wuse market to see where the protesters moved.

One of the worshippers was heard saying, “this is not Islam”, referring to the protesters.