DCO injured, vehicles vandalised as Shi’ites, police clash

Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

Shi’ite youths protesting the continued detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, on Monday grounded activities at the Federal Secretariat complex, Abuja.

The secretariat complex is located at the three arms zone and is a few metres from the National Assembly and the Presidential Villa.

The militant youths vandalised vehicles and harassed motorists as workers, commuters and visitors scampered for safety.

The youths, who were armed with stones, chased away a police team and vandalised the windscreen of their patrol van and other vehicles parked in the vicinity.

They also stoned the Divisional Crime officer, Federal Secretariat Police station, Linus Ogar, who sustained injuries in the face.

Ogar was berating the unruly youths for blocking the road and harassing motorists when he was stoned. He was subsequently rushed to his office at the secretariat complex from where he was taken to an unidentified hospital.

A police officer further worsened the tense situation when he accidentally fired a bullet which fortunately did not injure bystanders.

An eyewitness, Bola Saliu, explained that he saw the youths pelting Ogar with stones, adding that the DCO sustained serious injuries in the face.

 “He was seriously wounded by the protesters who pelted him with stones. He had to be evacuated to a hospital as his condition was a bit critical,” Salisu added.

 It was gathered that the protesters also took over the Ahmadu Bello Way, crippled vehicular traffic and overturned a traffic warden cabin on the road, while chanting ‘free El-Zakyzaky.’

The police later reinforced and chased away the stone-throwing protesters while a number of them were arrested and taken away.

A driver, Joshua, whose SUV was vandalised, said that he was waiting for his boss when he saw the youths advancing menacingly towards him.

He explained that the police fired tear gas canisters at the protesters who, in turn, responded with stones which hit the rear windscreen of the Acura SUV, smashing it.

 “I would have driven the SUV away when the youths started engaging the policemen but the battery was flat and I could not kick-start it.  So I had to abandon it and flee. By the time I came back, the back windscreen had been shattered and there were stones and tear gas canisters in the boot and on the back seat. You can see them for yourself,” Joshua stated.

The Spokesman, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Anjuguri Manzah, could not be reached for comment on the arrested protesters as he did not respond to calls. He had yet to reply a text message as of the time of filing this report.

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