Many Shi’ite members were reportedly injured when they clashed with Police in Bauchi on Tuesday as they marched around the city to celebrate the yearly Ashura, a development which led to tension in Bauchi as men of the Nigeria Police tried to prevent the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly known as Shi’ites.
The incident was said to have occurred at about 10 am on Tuesday at the Central Market Roundabout and Tashan Babiye areas of Bauchi, the Bauchi State capital as the Police personnel reportedly fired canisters of teargas to disperse the protesters even as gunshots were also said to have been fired by the Police causing people to scamper for safety.
Although there was no official statement on the incident but eyewitnesses accounts said several people were injured from the gunshots.
Our correspondent learnt that the IMN members came out for their usual procession to press home demand for the release of their leader, Sheikh El-Zakzaky who has been in detention since December 2015.
An eyewitness who refused to be mentioned told newsmen that many of the Shi’ites members were arrested and whisked away in Police vehicles.
“Early in the morning, the Shi’ites gathered to embark on their usual procession, but the Police blocked the road and fired teargas to disperse them.”
He added that, “they (Police) also fired gunshots and many were injured. Several others were arrested and taken away in Police vehicles and taken to the hospital. I heard that the Shi’ites also stoned the Police, although I didn’t witness that part, I was only told.
“I was around the Central Market about 10 am up to about 12 pm and all the shops around that area were closed down and people ran for dear lives. This is because the teargas got to the traders who were in their shops and even the houses around that area were also affected.”
The eyewitness added that: “Later on, the Police started arresting people there and took them away. And there is a school around that area and honestly, the teargas also affected them.”
He said that the Police barricaded the road, a development which he said caused gridlock. He said road users had to take alternative routes to get to their destinations.
Another eyewitness, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Bauchi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Mallam-Goje, who was also caught up in the incident and told our correspondent that he was affected by the teargas fired by the Police around Tashan Babiye around Bakin Kura area.
“Actually, I came out of my house and was on my way to the office this morning when I ran into the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria who were carrying out their procession. You know they were protesting today being the 10th day of Muharram, the new month of the Islamic Calendar.
“The Police were there and as I arrived there, the Police teargassed the entire area and all the people there were affected including myself, we were affected by the teargas,” he said.