Nigerian Shiite Muslim Protesters Say Army Shot at Them

A group of Shiite Muslims in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna say soldiers shot at them while protesting the detention of the sect’s spiritual leader.

Islamic Movement of Nigeria chief Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife are under “protective custody”, according to Nigerian General Adeniyi Oyebade. The Islamic Movement earlier claimed the leader’s wife had been killed in an attack in the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna state on Sunday.

“The constitution guarantees peaceful protest and they shot our people” Yakubu Yahaya, a sect leader, told reporters in the northern city of Katsina. Yahaya said more than 500 members of the group have been killed since the weekend, though he didn’t specify if any of the deaths were in Kaduna.

An unknown number of Shiite Muslims died on Sunday in military assaults against the sect in Zaria. The army accused Islamist Movement members of attempting to assassinate Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai after obstructing a main road in the city. The group denies the allegation and said its members were gathering for a religious event.

Three calls to military spokesman Sani Usman didn’t connect and he didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs on Monday demanded a judicial committee look into the crackdown.

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