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    Abuja: Troops in skirmish with protesting Shiites

    APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

    Nigeria has deployed soldiers, policemen and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in some areas in Abuja and clashed with protesting members of the Shiite Islamic sect.

    The Shiites, who are members the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), hit the Maitama area of Abuja early on Monday to protest the continued detention of their spiritual leader, Sheik Ibrahim E—Zakzaky.

    The security operatives have also taken over the Unity Fountain and its surroundings, having earlier dispersed the protesters.

    An eyewitness, Bola Adeniran, said that trouble started when the IMN members were refused entry by the operatives into the Unity Fountain where they normally sit-out to demand the release of their leader.

    El-Zakzaky disciples have been staging protests in parts of the country to demand the release of the Cleric.

    The Zaria-based cleric, his wife and some of his followers have been in detention since 2016 after a clash with troops in which more than 300 sect members were killed.

    The sect members had blocked the passage of the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, who was on an assignment in Zaria in Kaduna state.

    An attempt to clear the sect members from the highway was resisted, leading to the bloody engagement.

    A similar situation played out in 2014 leading to the killing of three children of the spiritual leader.

    El-Zakzaky is confirmed to have suffered a stroke in detention and was recently released to public view when he appeared before the Directorate of State Security.

    He confirmed suffering the attack, but assured Nigerians that he was taking his medication.


    MM/GIK/APA

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