A Policeman was reportedly stoned to death in Kaduna on Thursday following a clash between the Police and suspected members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), better known as Shi’ites. Many members of the sect also sustained injuries in the clash which started on Wednesday.

The brutal killing of the Policeman came as members of the sect were protesting the arraignment of their leader, Ibrahim El-zakzaky and his wife Zeena, who have been in detention since December 2015. Members of the group had trooped out in large numbers to witnessed the the trial of their leader, at the Kaduna State High Court along Bida road, while the Police responded by shutting down many highways in the city.

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The situation however became violent around Ibrahim Taiwo Road as the Shi’ites pelted the officers with stones and other dangerous objects, and they became recalcitrant despite the release of teargas canisters by law enforcement agents.

And while the Policeman was allegedly stoned to death, a patrol van belonging to the Nigeria Police Force was also destroyed in the melee. The victim, a Police Inspector, “died after being hit by objects thrown at him by the Shi’ites,” Aliyu Mukhtar, Spokesman of the Kaduna Police Command, said.

“It was a large crowd, the Shi’ite members as usual were hiding in the midst of people and when our men were trying to disperse them, they started throwing stones at them.

“The Policeman was hit with stones several times and he fell down. He was taken to the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital were he gave up,” he said.

He said 11 members of the group members were immediately arrested while the situation had been brought under control. “Some of those arrested were among those that killed the Policeman,” he said, adding that the arrested persons will be charged to court.

According to eye witness account, gunshots were heard in along Ahmadu Bello Way as well as Katsina road in the city centre, forcing traders at the Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Market (Central Market) to hurriedly close shops and scamper for safety.

Heavily armed men of the Department of State Services (DSS) brought El-Zakazaky and wife to the Kaduna High Court 4 at 9:15am in a dark-coloured Sports Utility Vehicle, but their trial was however stalled by the absence of the presiding judge, Mr. Justice Gideon Kurada.

Meanwhile, Femi Falana, counsel to Zakzaky, told reporters that the case was adjourned till July 11, 2018.

“What happened in court today is that, the court did not sit. We were informed by the registrar of the court that his lordship, Justice Gideon Kurada is indisposed. In the circumstance, we have to take a date, the prosecution and defense counsel have agreed to come back on 11th July to have possibly the arraignment and file an application for bail for our client.

“So, that is where we are. We don’t know the reason the judge is not in court but we were told he was indisposed,” Falana said.

Sheik Zakzaky has been in custody since December 2015 following an altercation between his members and the men of the Nigerian Army. The army accused the Shiites of blocking a major road being used by the army chief, Tukur Buratai, and over 300 of the followers were killed by soldiers.