Amnesty International has condemned the use of live bullets to disperse protesting members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
The police had earlier today cracked-down on the Shiites demanding the freedom of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, killing six, with many left injured.
Reacting to the attack on the protesters, Seun Bakare, Programme Manager at Amnesty International Nigeria, described the police action as “reckless use of lethal force” while calling on the police to exercise restraint in the use of force against protesters.
Bakare said, “This new crackdown is part of a shocking pattern in which security forces have used live ammunition to disperse IMN supporters who are simply exercising their freedom of expression.
“Images of IMN supporters being driven from the streets of Abuja with gunfire demonstrates once again the Nigerian authorities’ resolve to use lethal force rather than the rule of law in addressing the grievances of the IMN.
“The police must exercise restraint at all times and use force only when strictly necessary.”
Amnesty urged the Nigerian government to promptly investigate in an “independent and impartial manner”, the attacks on the Shiites protesters and immediately begin the process to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to face fair trials.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) is a Shi’a religious and political organization whose leader, Ibraheem Yaqub El-Zakzaky, has been a proponent of Shi’a Islam in Nigeria since the 1980s. His detention was described by a federal court in December 2016 as unlawful and unconstitutional.
An investigation by Amnesty International in October 2018 showed that the use of excessive force by soldiers and police led to the killing of at least 45 supporters of the IMN over two days. Between 12 and 14 December 2015, according to Amnesty International’s research, more than 350 IMN members were killed by security forces in Zaria, Kaduna State.