A fresh attack on Nigeria's Shia Muslim community has left at least 10 people dead and scores of others injured.

Iran Press/Africa news: Local Nigerian media reported on Saturday that Nigerian security forces opened fire on Muslim worshipers who convened for a religious procession in Zuba, in Gwagwalada area of the capital Abuja, marking Arbaeen, the 40th day after martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third infallible Imam of the Prophet Household (peace be upon them).

Those martyred in the attack were members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a group subjected to a harsh government crackdown over the past three years.

The Muslim worshipers had gathered near Abuja from Suleja, in Niger state, for a three-day procession to commemorate the annual Arbaeen occasion, according to local media reports.  

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria said in a statement that the attack was definitely unprovoked, adding that “the movement vehemently condemns the action of the security agents, as unwarranted, since the march has been peaceful.”

An IMN spokesman noted that mourners were forced to hurl stones and rocks at troops to defend themselves after police and security forces resorted to extreme violence.

Abdullahi Musa said that security forces even moved several of the bodies of the victims to a nearby police station.

He said Shia Muslims in Nigeria, including those who gathered for the annual procession, will not be deterred by the crackdown.

“I want to assure you that we are not disturbed with this onslaught. The more they kill us, the more people are coming out to protest,” Musa told The Cable news website.

Nigeria’s crackdown on IMN followers began in December 2015 when the army attacked a religious ceremony in the city of Zaria in the northern Nigeria. Nigerian forces later raided the house of IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and arrested him after killing those attempting to protect the prominent Muslim cleric.

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IMN sources said the group will go ahead with plans for “Arbaeen Symbolic Trek” as of Sunday despite police refusal to allow them through the military checkpoint near Zuma motor park earlier in the day. The group expects that more than a million will turn up at the march.


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