FILE PHOTO: A demonstration staged in northern Nigeria, calling for the release of Ibrahim Zakzaky, depicted here on a banner in Kano, who was detained following a military crackdown on his followers ©Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP/File)
Supporters of a Shiite Muslim cleric in Nigeria are calling for his release, more than three weeks after he was arrested by the military during a bloody crackdown on his group.
The military and police have assured followers of Ibrahim Zakzaky, who heads the pro-Iranian Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), that he is alive and well.
But nothing has been heard from him since he was arrested with his wife on December 13, fuelling fears about his health and the potential for a new security threat Nigeria could do without.
Human Rights Watch have claimed soldiers killed “at least 300” IMN members in the raid in the ancient city of Zaria, in the northern state of Kaduna that began the previous day.
Three of Zakzaky’s sons, his deputy, the group’s spokesman and head of security were reportedly among those who died when troops tried to reach the cleric’s house.
Nigeria’s military, who alleged IMN members tried to “assassinate” chief of army staff General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, dismissed the claimed death toll, calling it “unsubstantiated”.
Diplomatically, Iran is watching events closely and has voiced its concern about the situation while there were protests outside the West African country’s embassy in Tehran.
– ‘Deceit, conspiracy’? –
Contradictory statements from Nigeria’s security services on Zakzaky’s whereabouts have added to the uncertainty and sparked anger among his followers.
Buratai himself said on December 17 that Zakzaky had been transferred to “the relevant authorities for prosecution”, according to local media reports.
Pakistani Shiite Muslims carry placards of Ibrahim Zakzaky, a Nigerian Shiite radical who wants to set up an Islamic Republic, at a protest against the killing of Shiite Muslims …Read More
Source:: PM Newspaper