According to reports, the United States government yesterday expressed deep concern over reports of deaths of dozens of Nigerians in clashes between individuals participating in a Shi’ite procession and the Nigerian Police Force in Kano State on November 14.
The U.S. government said in a statement released by its Embassy in Abuja that while the matter was being investigated, it was “troubled by the apparent disproportionate response by the Police” during the clash.
“This is the latest in a series of violent clashes between security forces and members of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), some of which have resulted in deaths, destruction of property, and arbitrary detention of IMN members.
“The United States calls for calm and restraint on all sides, a reduction of tension, and greater communication between Shi’ite citizens and government authorities,” the statement said.
The U.S. noted that members of the Shi’ite community, like other religious communities have the right to assemble, peacefully express their religious beliefs, and carry out their religious celebrations.
While calling on the Nigerian government to protect and defend the rights of the IMN, the U.S. government said it was also incumbent on members of the sect and Nigerians to respect the rule of law and cooperate with the Police as they attempt to maintain public order.
“We continue to urge government to ensure accountability for the deaths of more than 300 IMN members during December 15, 2015 clashes with security forces in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“We also call on Nigerian government to conduct a transparent investigation into the latest incidents and bring to account, anyone responsible for violating the law,” the statement added.