Shiite Groups Decry Police Brutality During International Quds Day Commemoration

Zakari Haruna - Kaduna 

In a strongly-worded statement released on Saturday in Kaduna, Shiite groups condemned the excessive use of force by the Nigerian police during the commemoration of International Quds Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of every Ramadan to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

The statement, signed by Aliyu Umar Tirmizhi on behalf of victims of police extrajudicial killings in Kaduna State, recounted the tragic events that unfolded on Friday, 6th April 2024. It highlighted that International Quds Day has been a sustained activity for the past thirty years in major cities across Nigeria and has historically been peaceful.

However, this year's commemoration took a violent turn when unarmed men, women, children, and physically challenged individuals gathered to sympathize with the Palestinians and condemn the atrocities committed by Israel in Gaza. 

Despite the peaceful nature of the demonstration, the police intervened with full combat-ready force, deploying tear gas and live ammunition indiscriminately.

Tragically, five innocent individuals, including minors, lost their lives in the crackdown, while 25 others sustained injuries, some of whom are in critical condition. The victims were identified as Mahamud Umar, Ibrahim Rabiu, Haidar Ishaq, Mustapha Buruku, and Ahmad Mustafa.

The statement vehemently refuted claims made by the Kaduna Police Command that they did not fire any shots during the incident. Video evidence, photographs, and media reports circulating on social media contradict the police's version of events, exposing their false narrative.

Furthermore, the statement challenged the police's allegation that the demonstrators were armed with deadly weapons, asserting that they only carried flags during the peaceful protest. The groups questioned the police's priorities, urging them to redirect their efforts toward combating kidnappers and bandits terrorizing the state instead of targeting peaceful demonstrators.

In conclusion, the Shiite groups asserted their right as Nigerian citizens to express themselves peacefully and declared their intention to seek legal redress against the police's extrajudicial actions. They emphasized their commitment to upholding their freedom of expression and practicing their faith without fear of persecution.

The incident has sparked outrage among human rights activists and calls for accountability from law enforcement authorities.

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