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DCP, corps member, others killed as police, Shiites clash

A Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Usman Umar and a youth corps member Precious Owolabi were confirmed dead following a protest by members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) which turned violent yesterday. 

The police said “the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, FCT Command, DCP Usman A.K Umar, was shot and fatally injured by the protesters. The officer who was immediately rushed to the hospital died moments later while receiving treatment.” 
An ambulance and a truck stationed for emergency purposes at the outpost of the National Emergency Management Agency’s burns after they were allegedly set ablaze in Abuja yesterday by protesting members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria during a clash with the police
“Also, two Assistant Superintendents of Police and a Staff of Channels Television sustained serious injuries and are currently receiving treatment. The violent protesters also razed down a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Response Post close to the Federal Secretariat, Abuja and two vehicles,” Force spokesperson Frank Mba, a DCP, said in a statement yesterday. 

Mba said the members of the Zakzaky group numbered about 3,000. “The heavily armed protesters  defying all sense of decency violently attacked innocent citizens and Police personnel on duty.” 

He also said the police have arrested fifty-four suspects in connection with the incidents, adding that the suspects were undergoing interrogation and would be arraigned in court as soon as possible. 

Abuja Press reports that Owolabi, 23, was confirmed dead last night. Management of Channels Television said the corps member, who was serving with its Abuja station, was shot while covering the clash between the police and the Shiites. 

Our correspondents reports that members of the IMN, a Shiite group, were demanding the release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah, whom they said are both critically ill and needed to be flown out of the country for treatment. 

Slain Deputy Commissioner of Police Usman A.K. Umar
The protesters started their procession from the NICON Junction but were intercepted by the police, who tried to disperse them around the federal secretariat by firing tear gas at them. 

In the ensuing clash, some persons were shot and an emergency vehicle and the building of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) stationed opposite the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs were set ablaze. 

Police officers in radio communications called in fire fighters to the scene, even as soldiers and police personnel cordoned off roads leading to the Villa, National Assembly and Police Force Headquarters. 

“They used live bullets on our members and many have been killed,” Ibrahim Musa, a spokesman of the IMN, said. 

“A lot of people have been shot but for now we can only confirm 11 deaths, but several are injured, the figure for now stood at 30. Though we are aware of the fact that the security agents have been going around taking off those they killed from the streets. 

“Even some seriously injured persons that were taken to Abuja University teaching Hospital Gwagwalada; the police went there and took away about 11 people they shot during the protest. 

“We strongly dispute the claim by the police that the protesters shot at them because throughout our processions we have not been carrying any arms right from 2015 to date. It was also the police who shot at the Reporter of Channels TV, another indication that many innocent people were shot at by the police, including some of their own,” he said. 

Musa said the sect will continue the protest despite the violence and arrest of its members. 

“Whatever they want to do, they should go ahead and do it, but we will not stop. He (Zakzaky) is dying in detention and we can’t fold our arms and allow him die there. They should kill us before his death,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said its Emergency Response and Ambulance Bays (ERABs) located on Ahmadu Bello Way beside the Federal Secretariat was attacked and two vehicles burnt down. 

In a statement signed by Head Media and Public relations, Sani Datti the attack was carried out by Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria yesterday in Abuja. 

He said the two burnt vehicles were the Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), which is a life support ambulance and a multi-purpose Response Intervention Van (Rescue Tender). 

Datti said ERABs was situated at the location for timely response to emergencies and disasters to reduce loss of lives and property. 

He said the Director General of NEMA, Engr Mustapha Maihaja has visited the response bay and inspected the damage.