A Nigerian Shiite organisation, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), said 12 of its members were killed in a nationwide crackdown on Tuesday.
The Shiites were embarking on their annual religious rite, Ashura, across many states in Nigeria.
The group’s spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Musa, in a statement Tuesday said the killings took place after attacks on Ashura mourners in Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto and Katsina states.
The statement, however, said similar processions in Abuja, Jos, Kebbi, Minna, Lafia, Yola, Gusau, Zaria, Kano, Jalingo, Damaturu, Hadejia and Potiskum, ended peacefully.
Ashura, a Shiite mourning period in commemoration of the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, is observed on the 10th day of the first month of Islamic lunar calendar, Muharram.
Police had said in a statement Tuesday that it would treat the planned procession as “a gathering in advancement of terrorism.”
The police’s waning on the Ashura gathering followed proscription of IMN by federal government and its designation as a terrorist organisation.
Police are yet to speak on the number of Shiites killed.
If confirmed, the 12 will add to hundreds of IMN members killed since December 2015 after the Shiites blocked a public road.
No security official has been prosecuted for any of the killings, condemned by local and international rights groups.
Leader of IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is still in government custody and is being tried for the death of a soldier during a December 2015 incident.