The United States has denounced the killing of more than 20 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as the Shia community by men of the Nigerian police during a Shia Procession in Kano on November 14.
This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by spokesperson of the US Embassy in Abuja, John Kirby, saying that the use of force by the police against the Shiites was disproportionate adding , that the Shiites like any other religious group have the right to peaceful assembly and to express their faith peacefully and mark their celebrations.
“We call on the Nigerian government to protect and defend these rights. It is also incumbent on members of the IMN and all Nigerian citizens to respect the rule of law and cooperate with the police as they attempt to maintain public order.
“While the matter is still under investigation, we are troubled by the apparent disproportionate response by the police. 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 said.
“We continue to urge the government to ensure accountability for the deaths of more than 300 IMN members during December 15, 2015 clashes between the IMN and security forces in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“We also call on the Nigerian government to conduct a transparent investigation of the latest incidents and bring to account anyone responsible for violating the law,” the statement said.
The US also called for calm and restraint on all sides, a reduction of tensions, and greater communication between Shia citizens and government authorities, the statement added.