Amnesty International has described the shootings of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as the Shi’ites, by the police during a protest march in Abuja on Monday as “a reckless use of lethal force,” which must be investigated.
On Monday, 17 IMN members were reportedly killed by the police during a clash as they protested the continued detention of Ibrahim Zakzaky, their leader.
Reacting to the incident , Seun Bakare, programme manager at Amnesty International Nigeria, condemned the killing of protesters, saying the police were expected to observe restraint at all times, with a use of force “when strictly necessary.”
Bakare said the chasing of the protesters, who were exercising their freedom of expression, showed that the police resorted to force, urging Nigerian authorities to investigate the incident and ensure that justice is served.
He said, “Eyewitnesses have told us that six people were shot dead amid a reckless use of lethal force by the Nigerian police against unarmed supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) today. 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 Nigerian authorities must promptly investigate in an independent and impartial manner the police shootings and bring to justice all those suspected of criminal responsibility in fair trials. The police must exercise restraint at all times and use force only when strictly necessary.”