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Shiites Protest: Residents of Abuja community trek several kilometres



Residents of Mararaba/Nyanya and environs were subjected to hardship following protest by members of a Shiite group, IMN.

Members of the movement protested in Nyanya, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Mararaba, Nasarawa State, following continued detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The development resulted in gridlock that left many residents, who closed from work with no option than trekking as far as AYA to Maraba/ Nyanya and other neighbouring settlements.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that men, women and physically challenged persons were seen walking past motorists, while many others were stranded mainly at AYA for lack of vehicles.

The few commercial vehicles on the road increased their fares while many vehicles were parked by the roadside following overheating and other faults resulting from the gridlock.

Some of the persons who spoke with NAN decried the hardship suffered by residents whenever there were security concerns in the area.

The persons, who pleaded anonymity, called on the federal government to create more access roads leading to the area.

They lamented that in spite of the number of people resident in those satellite towns, there was only one major route through the Mararaba/Keffi road.

Mr El-Zakzaky was arrested in 2015 after his members had a confrontation with the motorcade of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna state. Over 300 Shiites were killed by the army in that incident, killings that have been condemned by rights groups including Amnesty International.

NAN also recalls that 53 members of the IMN (Islamic Movement of Nigeria) were recently arrested by the police in Abuja following a protest that turned violent.

Since the arrest and detention of Mr El-Zakzaky, his followers have organised series of protests in some cities in the country, calling for his release.

The army on Sunday confirmed that three members of the sect were killed on Saturday, while two soldiers sustained injuries when they clashed with troops at Zuba in the FCT.

In the wake of the disturbances at the weekend, the FCT command had assured residents of adequate security against planned protests by the sect in the territory.

Late on Monday, the army also confirmed three sect members were killed and four soldiers injured in the Monday incident.

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