Police say eight members of Nigeria's banned Shiite movement and a police sergeant have been killed in clashes in northern Kano city.

But the Shiite's Iranian-inspired Islamic movement in Nigeria says as many as 50 were killed when security forces opened fire on a religious procession Monday.

Kano state Police Commissioner Rabiu Yusuf says Shiites armed with bows and arrows, slingshots and cutlasses attacked police. He says the Shiites blocked a major highway and "attacked innocent citizens, damaged police and personal properties thereby causing mayhem."

The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission had asked Nigeria's president to ensure the protection of Shiites, a minority among Nigeria's mainly Sunni Muslims, after Nigerian soldiers in December gunned down more than 300 Shiites and buried them secretly, according to a government commission of inquiry.