Chris Steven, Abuja,
The protest against prolonged detention Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) by its members took a more confrontational dimension on Monday as the sect clashed with security operatives leaving scores of members wounded.
A Federal High had ordered the release of El-Zakzaky, who had been in detention for over two years, on December 2, 2016, but the order has been flouted by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The protest however took a whole new dimension as the Shiites attempted to protest beside the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja where the Nigerian Army and the US military were holding the African Land Forces Summit for African countries.
The police and soldiers had earlier barricaded major roads leading to the summit, but the Shiites retreated and mobilised with full force to the area.
The soldiers and policemen however prevented the protesters from gaining entry into the area as tear gas were fired and sporadic gunshots were heard in order to disperse the protesters.
The group had mobilised its members across the North-west and North-eastern states of the country to protest against what they called the perpetual incarceration of their leader, El-Zakzaky.
The protesters, who arrived Abuja Thursday, last week, barricaded major entry points to Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
On Friday and Saturday, last week, they also took over major streets and strategic locations in the city, including the popular Sani Abacha Way, Herbert Macaulay Way, and Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, among other places.
The protest later spread to major roads in the city including Banex Junction, along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Highway, and IBB Way, among other areas in the city.