Many people were injured on Tuesday in a clash between men of the police and members of the outlawed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites.
The clash occurred at about 10am at the Central Market Roundabout and Tashan Babiye areas within the state capital.
Police reportedly used teargas to disperse the protesters even as gunshots were also said to have been fired by the police causing people to scamper for safety.
Although, there was no detail yet of the number of deaths from the incident at press time, but eyewitnesses said that several people were injured from the gunshots.
Our correspondent reports that the IMN members came out for their usual procession to press home their demand for the release of their leader, Sheikh El-ZakZaky, who has been in detention since December 2015.
An eyewitness, who refused to be mentioned, said that many of the Shiites members were arrested and whisked away in police vehicles.
“Early in the morning, the Shiites gathered to embark on their usual procession, but the police blocked the road and fired teargas to disperse them.
“They (police) also fired gunshots and many were injured. Several others were arrested and taken away in police vehicles and taken to the hospital. I heard that the Shiites also stoned the police, although, I didn’t witness that part; I was only told.
“I was around the Central Market about 10am up to about 12pm and all the shops around that area were closed down and people ran for their dear lives. This is because the teargas got to the traders who were in their shops and even the houses around that area were also affected,” he said.
The eyewitness added that: “Later on, the police started arresting people there and those they arrested, they took away. And there is a school around that area and honestly, the teargas also affected them.”
He said that the police barricaded the road although motorists were driving slowly and this has caused traffic gridlock. Some people had to take alternative routes to get to their destinations.
Another eyewitness, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Bauchi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Mallam-Goje, was also caught up in the incident.
He told our correspondent that he also suffered from the teargas that was fired by the Police around Tashan Babiye around Bakin Kura area.
“Actually, I came out from my house and was on my way to the office this (Tuesday) morning when I ran into the Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria who were carrying out their procession.
“You know they were on procession today been the 10th day of Muharam, the new month of the Islamic Calendar. Without my knowledge that the police were there and as I arrived there, the police tear-gassed the entire area and all the people there were affected including me, by the teargas,” he said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of Bauchi State command, DSP Kamal Datti Abubakar confirmed the clash, saying that “the IMN members refused to adhere to the advice given them by traditional rulers against the procession, but they went ahead to embark on it. Our men were drafted there to disperse them.”
He said that the police succeeded in dispersing the procession and arrested 28 members of the Shiite