The United States government has expressed what it calls deep concern by reports of the deaths of dozens of Nigerians involved in clashes between individuals participating in a Shia procession and the Nigerian Police Force in Kano State.
A statement by the US Embassy in Abuja said that while the matter was still being investigated, it was troubled by the apparent disproportionate response by the police during the clash.
According to the statement, this is the latest in a series of violent incidents between security forces and members of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN some of which have resulted in deaths, destruction of property, and the arbitrary detention of IMN members.
The statement also said and I quote “The United States calls for calm and restraint on all sides, a reduction of tensions, and greater communication between Shia citizens and government authorities.” End of quote.
The U.S. government however noted that members of the Shia community, like other religious communities, have the right to assemble, peacefully express their religious beliefs, and mark their 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 religious sect and all Nigerians to respect the rule of law and cooperate with the police as they attempt to maintain public order.