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Shiite Clash:FCT residents urge dialogue to end crisis

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Residence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have expressed dismay with the clashes between the Shiites Islamic Movement of Nigeria and security operatives, over the continued detention of the sect’s leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat.

The Nigeria News Agency recalls that El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat had been held in detention for four years in spite of a court ruling ordering their release.

Some affected residents who spoke to NAN in separate interviews on Wednesday in Abuja, called for dialogue between the Federal Government and members of the Sect.

Mr Kingsley Okafor a Taxi Driver who operates the Banex route, venue of one of the clashes, expressed surprise that the group’s protests which before now were peaceful had turned violent.

“What happened here yesterday is different from what we had seen in the past.

“Because, since this people started their demonstrations for over a year now, we related well with them, we know them, we carry them from Wuse to their destinations and back.

“Yesterday we thought it was the normal routine, I was about to load my vehicle when we started hearing gunshots and teargas’ and people started running.

“We all started running to safety, people were running in various directions for dear life, then the police took over and it grounded our business.’’

He described the incident as unfortunate adding that it was not too late for government to do the needful for peace to reign.

Also, a petty trader Adaku Iheanacho, described the incident as terrible, noting that it grounded commercial activities resulting in losses as people ran for their lives.

Mr John Asishana, a telecom business dealer, regretted that the incident was happening in the federal capital territory which was home to the diplomatic communities.

“We were here doing our legitimate businesses when we heard shouts and members of the Shiite movement started throwing stones, this is the FCT, we need security, the Federal Government should do something fast before it is too late.’’

Solomon Ishaku a worker in the Ministry of Education in the Federal Secretariat, another venue of such clashes said he heard gunshots while in his office and ran out to see lots of people running around.

Ishaku urged the Federal Government to put an end to the unrest for the security of lives and properties.

Similarly, Mr Victor Jaja another Civil Servant urged government to resolve the issue through dialogue describing it as worrisome.

“Lives are being lost and it’s a worrisome issue, we do not need to lose any more lives, we are all Nigerians and the country belongs to all of us, let us all live peacefully.

Edited by Lydia Beshel

Foreign

Iraqi Shiite militia promises to retaliate against U.S. airstrike in Iraq

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The Iraqi Iranian-backed Shiite militia leader, Qais al-Khazali, on Wednesday said it was time for Iraq to respond to the U.S. airstrike.

According to him, the Iranian initial response to the killing of Iranian military leader is done.

Al-Khazali, the commander of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia, said in his tweet that the Iraqi response “will not be less than that of the Iran’s, and this is a promise.’’

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, or League of People of Righteousness, is part of Hashd Shaabi brigades.

The group was allegedly funded, trained and armed by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and later became allied to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Al-Khazali’s tweet came after Iran fired ballistic missiles earlier on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and near the city of Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

A statement released by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said that a total of 22 Iranian missiles were launched.

Of them, 17 struck the Ayn al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, and five landed on the U.S. headquarters near the city of Erbil.

“No casualties were recorded among the Iraqi forces, and more details to be released later,’’ the statement said.

The Iranian attack came three days after the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq and prevent them from using Iraqi airspace and waters.

On Friday, a U.S. drone attacked a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

More than 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against Islamic State militants, mainly providing training and advising for the Iraqi forces.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Isaac Aregbesola

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Christmas: El-Zakzaky Shiites group attends Church service, presents gift

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Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly called Shiites on Wednesday attended a Christmas Church service at Church of the Advent, Samaru, Zaria.

Speaking in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency shortly after the service, the leader of the team, Prof. Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru said the essence of attending the service was to promote love, tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.

The service was conducted at Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Zaria, Church of the Advent, Samaru, Kaduna State.

“We came to celebrate the Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them.

“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so that to clear some of the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.

“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to breach this gap, so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality,” he said.

Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditionalists to shun all forms of hatred, saying that religion was not all about hate but a means of bonding people together.

“You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them.

“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure a united and formidable country envy of other nations,” he said.

The Vica of the Church, Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu expressed appreciation for the visit and urged the visitors to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.

“In fact, I am so exited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this.

“When we first got the news of their coming, I was just so overwhelmed and I said I can’t wait for that day to come, here am behold the day has come, the visit had really gladden our hearts,” he said.

According to him, the visit shows that Nigerians are looking for peace and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.

“So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace.

“Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country.

“Is just share of misunderstanding of what we are and who we are and where we represent that we lack peace today, we can never stay part from each other, we must and under must live together.

“Here I am in Samaru, I come from Southern Kaduna, some of our friends come from the East and some of you who are Northerners are also living in other parts of Nigeria, if there is no peace how do we live like that?,” he asked.

He observed that the occasion had opened a door for people to know that Nigerians have brighter opportunity to live peace with one another.

Sa’idu said that attending Church service by Muslims was not unusual in other countries, saying that in other countries Muslims, Christians another religious groups do their celebrations together.

“I pray this has broken the jinx that we can begin to live together, Muslims attend Christian functions, Christians attend Muslims functions like that we will be happy.

“My message to Nigerians is that let’s copy what these brothers and sisters have done and truly this visit has encouraged me that I have a friend in you, in this man and all of you.

“This implies that I can go to this person, I can go to that person and I will tell my problems and you can attend to me, if we learn to do this, I tell you in the next 10, 20 years, there will be no religious fight.

“Those who ignite crisis for their selfish aims and they leave us to kill and destroy one another but now that we are here for peace we all love one another,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the visitors presented a gift to the Church as a sign of love.

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Foreign

Violent clashes erupt in Beirut between Shiite protesters, police

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 Violent clashes erupted late on Monday between riot police and followers of Hezbollah and the Amal movement in central Beirut after a social media posting critical of the Shiite community and leadership emerged.

The video shows a man insulting the Shiite community in Lebanon, Shia Imams and leaders of Hezbollah and the Amal movement.

Local media identified him as Samer Sidawi – a Sunni man from the northern port city of Tripoli who claims to be living outside Lebanon.

Protesters took to the streets angered by the video and clashed with riot police, who used tear gas water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.

Streets in downtown Beirut looked like a battlefield covered with stones and metal objects.

Smoke from tear gas also covered the area.

Lebanese streets have been tense since anti-government protesters, who represent people from various Lebanese religious groups, took to the streets on Oct. 17 accusing the ruling elite of mismanagement and corruption.

“No one is allowed to assault leaders like Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah and Nabih Berri,” chanted the protesters referring to the Hezbollah and Amal leaders.

Local media also showed demonstrators chanting “Shiia Shiia.”

Both Hezbollah and the Amal movement have called on their followers to leave the streets “immediately”.

A Shiite clergyman used a mosque loudspeaker from the nearby Shiite neighbourhood Khandak al Ghameek to call on the protesters to leave the streets.

Riot police arrested at least three Shiite protesters after three cars in the area were set on fire.

Shiite and Sunni clergymen described the video as a means of inciting strife between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the country and called for calm.

An aid of Sunni-Muslim grand Mufti, Sheikh Hassan Mereb, told local media that the video does not represent the Sunni community in Lebanon.

Local media reported that Sidawi’s family in Tripoli denounced the video and said he does not represent anyone in Lebanon.

The incident came hours after anti-government protesters took to the streets and decried Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s decision to postpone parliamentary consultations for the naming of a new prime minister at the request of Saad Hariri, the only candidate for the post.

The binding consultations are now delayed until Thursday to allow for more consultations on the issue of forming the government.

Anti-government demonstrators gathered earlier Monday evening to reject Hariri’s nomination, demanding that an “independent” be nominated instead.

Protesters have called for a government of technocrats, rather than politicians from the ruling class, to help revive the country’s  battered economy.

Lebanon has been gripped by street protests since mid-October and the economic and political turmoil there has generated Lebanon’s worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

The protests prompted Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign on Oct. 29.

According to a source close to Hariri, “the coming 72 hours will be crucial” – the former premier is still insisting on forming a government of experts.

The source said that if Hariri cannot secure his demand he is likely to say “look for another person to head the government.”

Hariri was expected to be named as premier during the consultations, which were scheduled for Monday at the presidential palace.

Hariri’s request for postponement came after two main Christian parliamentary blocs decided not to back him, which would have affected the number of votes he was expected to receive.

President Aoun was due to hold talks with various parliamentary blocs following two nights of clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police.

According to the Lebanese constitution, the president has to consult with parliamentary blocs before he tasks a premier with forming a new government.

The president must be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliamentary speaker a Shiite Muslim.

YEE

Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

 

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Foreign

Tensions between Lebanese protesters, followers of Shiite groups increase

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Tensions between Lebanese protesters, followers of Shiite groups increase

Protesters

Beirut,Oct. 29, 2019 Scuffles erupted on Tuesday between Lebanese anti-government protesters and followers of two Lebanese Shiite movements, who tried to re-open a major road blocked by protesters in the capital Beirut.

“This is not fair. We will open the road no matter what,’’ a follower of Amal movement, told dpa.

The supporters of Amal and Hezbollah chanted God bless Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah, while protesters sang the national anthem and repeated the words “peaceful peaceful.”

Followers of both Shiite groups started dismantling the tents which were set up by the protesters on the Ring Bridge, which was the boundary between west and east Beirut during the 1975-1990 civil wars in Lebanon.

Roads leading to Beirut from north and south Lebanon were closed by protesters, as well as streets at the outskirts of and inside the capital, further crippling activities since the crisis began Oct 17.

The country’s leaders have held series of talks in a bid to end the stand-off that threatens to push the country to the brink of political and financial crisis.

The protesters, however, rejected the promises of reforms and are demanding the government’s resignation instead.

Edited by: Halima Sheji/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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31 killed, 100 wounded in stampede in Iraq’s Shiite city of Karbala

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The Iraqi health ministry said on Tuesday that 31 people had  been killed and 100 others wounded in a stampede during Shiite Ashura celebrations in the city of Karbala.

The ministry, said that 10 of the wounded were in serious condition.

According to Iraq’s official news agency INA, medical and security sources said that the toll is likely to increase.

Tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims converge on the holy city for the occasion, which marks the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, one of the grandsons of Prophet Mohammed.

People marched through Karbala, whipping their backs and chests with chains and sobbing as blood covered their bodies and faces. Others tapped their chests in a steady rhythm.

Millions of Shiites across Iraq are marking Ashura, which falls on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

The Iraqi government had declared Tuesday a national holiday and deployed thousands of army and police forces to keep the peace at the celebrations.

Ashura is marked by Muslims to commemorate the day Moses was saved from the Egyptians.

However, for Shiite Muslims the day has special significance, marking Hussein’s death at the Battle of Karbala in Iraq in 680 AD.

The festival was banned in Iraq for years under dictator Saddam Hussein, who was ousted in 2003.

HLM/SN

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Silas Nwoha

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General news

MURIC endorses proscription of Shiites

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has endorsed the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiites by the Federal Government.

In a statement issued on Monday in Ibadan by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, MURIC said the government action was imperative and decisive owing to Shiites’ violent disposition and disrespect to constitutional authority.

“MURIC recognises the right of Shiites to practice their faith but strictly within recognised rules of engagement. Shiites must respect Allah-given fundamental rights of their neighbours.

“They must genuinely renounce violence and pledge to stop the harassment of other citizens, review their revolutionary tenets particularly that which refuses to recognise federal and state governments.

“It is treasonable to vehemently persist that they will only recognise an Islamic government based on Shiite ideology alone,’’ MURIC said.

The group said that Boko Haram would not have festered so badly had former President Goodluck Jonathan promptly taken decisive action against their excesses.

MURIC which had earlier suggested dialogue for amicable settlement of the Shiites issue said it reviewed its position following certain developments.

“It will be recalled that we suggested that FG should initiate dialogue with the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim community and leaders of IMN in order to find an amicable settlement for the Shiite imbroglio.

“But more revelations have since come to our attention in the last 48 hours.

“For example, at least two Muslim neighbours of the Shiites came out openly and in writing to reveal stunning incidents of the use of violence by the group and their experiences date back to the 90s.

“A major Islamic organisation which is based in the North, the Jamaatu Ikhmad al-Bid’ah wa Ihyais-Sunnah (JIBWIS) also issued a strong statement calling on FG not to handle the Shiites with soft gloves.

“Most importantly, the testimonies have revealed a dangerous Shiite principle of non-recognition of either a federal or state government.

“Based on these new developments, we have no other choice than to call on Nigerians to allow FG to handle the situation, particularly in the face of large scale insecurity in the country,’’ MURIC said.

MURIC noted that the government had been accused of failure to take decisive action to stem the tide of insecurity.

The Islamic group, therefore, enjoined members of the civil society and individuals defending the Shiites to look at the larger picture of events.

It called on civil society to ponder over Shiite ideology which rejects the federal constitution, all constituted authority within the country including traditional rulers.

The group also called on the Iranian government to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of Nigeria, contending that they do not have moral right to dictate to the country on how to handle Shiite excesses.

“We exist simply to project, promote and protect the rights of all adherents of Islam and reject those who smear the image of Islam, kill, maim followers of other religions and their fellow Muslims.

`We recognise the authority of the federal government as well as those of state governments and we will not associate with those who seek to render asunder the sovereignty of our great country, Nigeria,’’ MURIC said

The Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the proscription of the Shi’ites’ movement as protests by the Islamic organisation rock Abuja.

Justice Nkeonye Maha issued the order in a ruling in which she also designated the activities of the Shiite organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.” .

SYS/ROT

Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi

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Religion

Shiites: Foundation appeals to FG to protect members against any backlash 

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Rasulul A’azam Foundation (RAAF), a Shiite group, has appealed to the Federal Government to protect its members against any backlash following the proscription and declaration of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as a terrorist group.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Federal Government on Friday obtained a court order to proscribe the Shiite organisation referred to as the Islamic Movement in Nigeria,  following alleged acts of terrorism and illegality.

“I am calling on the government to protect the law-abiding members of RAAF against any backlash, following the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

“We are Shiite but not members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and we have said it several times.

He said that RAAF was a peaceful organisation registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

“Whenever we have events, we write to the appropriate authorities, who provide us with security,” he said.

He called on journalists  to always differentiate between RAAF and IMN,and not mislead the general public.

“Our organisation is purely religious, not political, and the ban order is targeted at IMN, not us”, he said.

Edited by Bayo Sekoni

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Defence/Security

Group commends FG for designating Shiite as terrorists’ organisation

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Dr Vitalis Orikeze-Ajumbe, National coordinator of South East Equity Alliance (SEA) on Sunday commended President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for proscribing Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly called Shiite.

Orikeze-Ajumbe gave the commendation in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.

He described the proscription as desirable in view of the activities of the group which he said had posed threat to national security.

The SEA national coordinator who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) called for similar government action against killer herdsmen.

“I commend our president for taking this move. I also encourage him to also proscribe the Fulani herdsmen who are armed and killing Nigerians,” Orikeze-Ajumbe said.

According to him, Nigeria’s territorial integrity and safety of her citizens must be protected at all cost.

He explained that security was paramount to national planning as well as economic and political stability.

Orikeze-Ajumbe who urged Nigerians to support the Federal Government’s position, said issues of national security must not be handled with kid’s gloves.

NAN reports that the Federal Government on Friday obtained a court order to proscribe the Shiites organisation referred to as the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

Justice Nkeonye Maha issued the order in a ruling which designated the activities of the group in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”

Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede

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Shiite: Lawan commiserates with Channels TV, Police over deaths of staff, officer

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The President of the Senate, Dr  Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, expressed sadness over the  loss of lives in the violent clash between members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria and security agents in Abuja on Monday.

Lawan, in a statement issued by Ola Awoniyi, his Special Adviser on Media, described the death of  Channels reporter  Precious Owolabi, in the  incident as tragic.

Lawan  also extended his condolences to the family of  Owolabi, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).

He also commiserated  with the family of Mr Usman Umar and the Nigeria Police over the death of their son and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) during the incident.

He  condemned  the habitual resort to violence by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria under the guise of the exercise of their rights to freedom of association and expression.

The senate president also decried the use of excess force by the security agencies.

He called on the security agencies to evolve new approach for peaceful enforcement of law and order, even in the face of provocation.

Lawan  urged  the Federal Government to find a speedy resolution to the agitation by members of the movement, within the context of the rule of law, national peace and security.

“All lawful options need to be considered towards avoiding carnage from needless confrontations of citizens with the security forces,” he stated.

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