ABUJA (Dispatches) -- The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) said on Tuesday police opened fire on members on Shia religious processions across the country, leaving at least 12 people dead and many other injured.
Three people were killed when police shot at members marching in the northern state of Kaduna, Ibrahim Musa, a spokesman for the Shia group, told Bloomberg by phone. Two people were killed in Bauchi and Gombe states, he said.
Further attacks on Ashura mourners took place in Sokoto and Katsina states.
According to an IMN statement, similar processions in Abuja, Jos, Kebbi, Minna, Lafia, Yola, Gusau, Zaria, Kano, Jalingo, Damaturu, Hadejia and Potiskum ended peacefully.
Police had said in a statement on Tuesday that it would treat planned Ashura processions as "a gathering in advancement of terrorism”. The waning followed the proscription of the IMN by the Nigerian government and its designation as a terrorist organization.
If confirmed, the 12 will add to hundreds of IMN members killed since December 2015.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration declared the Islamic Movement in Nigeria a terrorist group in July following months of street protests as members demanded the release of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, their detained leader.
Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were detained in December 2015 during a ruthless raid by security forces, which left more than 300 people dead.
Since August, the cleric has been transferred to an unknown location upon return from India where he sought medical treatment, only to face an "obstruction" in the procedure.
Zakzaky returned to Nigeria along with his wife after announcing an early departure from India, citing obstruction of his treatment under the influence of the Nigerian government.
They have been in prison for four years despite a high court ruling granting them freedom.
The house of the 66-year-old cleric was raided in 2015 during which Sheikh Zakzaky was beaten and lost his left eye. His wife sustained serious wounds, and three of his sons and more than 300 of his followers were killed.