Shiites vow to continue procession despite incessant attacks by Nigerian police

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, has vowed to continue its demand for the release of its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, despite the clampdown by security operatives during some of their processions.

The group’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa, made this known on Tuesday to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview.

Mr. Musa condemned the recent attacks by the police and other security agents that disrupted their ‘peaceful’ processions in Kaduna and Abuja.

‎PREMIUM TIMES reported how the police forcefully disrupted an IMN protest in Abuja on Monday, beating and man-handling some of the protesters. Mr. Musa said no member of the group was killed but scores were arrested by the police.

‎Also, the Kaduna State Police Command on Monday issued a warning to the IMN members against unlawful assembly, lawlessness, incitement and acts capable of breaching the peace in the state.

The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mukhtar Aliyu, who issued the warning in a press statement in Kaduna, said any breach of peace would be dealt with decisively.

But the IMN members said they would not relent in their quest for the release of their leader.

“The Free Zakzaky procession that has been ongoing despite several attacks on our members by the police. It is because of the deteriorating health condition of our leader,” he said.

“We will not relent from this procession across key northern states unless the federal government releases our leader from detention to enable us cater for his health,” Mr. Musa said.

“If the government does not want to see our face on the streets of Abuja, they should release our leader. They disrupted our procession in Abuja today and arrested about 200 members after using live bullets and canister of tear gas on us,” he added.

Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested on December 14, 2015, following a clash between members of his group and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

At least 347 members of the group were killed with the army who said they blocked a major road and prevented the army chief, Tukur Buratai, from passing.

The killings have been condemned by local and international rights groups and nobody has been prosecuted for them.

However, efforts made to reach the FCT Police Command spokesperson, Manzah Anjuguri, was unsuccessful as he did not respond to our reporter’s phone calls and text messages sent to him.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had in December 2016 ordered the release of Mr. Ek-Zakzaky and his wife. The government refused to obey the order.