Alwaght- At least twelve Shiite Muslims were killed and ten were injured by Nigerian security forces across the African country when they came out for the annual Ashura procession.
The procession in Kaduna was moving on peacefully when the police opened fire and killed three people. Meanwhile, reports say nine others were killed in Bauchi, Gombe and Azare.
Hundreds of supporters of the Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky have been seriously injured or arrested by the police in various Nigerian cities. Witnesses say the capital Abuja has been placed on a lockdown, with blocks set up to prevent mourners from gathering.
Zakzaky supporters have condemned in strong terms these recent killings.
The Nigerian police had earlier issued a statement warning members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria not to come out for any procession because the group has been proscribed, but members of the Islamic Movement equally issued a statement saying its members will come out on Ashura because they have the constitutional freedom of religion.
However, in Suleja town in Niger state, mourners came out and chanted songs to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein the third Shiite Imam and 72 of his loyal companions who were martyred in Karbala some southern Iraq, in 680 A.D. after fighting courageously for justice.
The mourners said Imam Hussein was killed because he stood for justice and defended the real Islam as practiced by his grandfather, the prophet of Islam.
The Ashura procession here in Suleja ended peacefully. The message by all Zakzaky supporters is that of standing for truth and justice as against oppression and injustice.