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Police Fire Teargas, Firearms At Shiite Protesters In Nigeria’s Capital

Nigeria Police officers on Monday fired teargas and firearms to disperse members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) who were protesting the continuous detention of their leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah.

The protest was taking place around the Federal Secretariat and Three Arms Zone, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital where government offices including the Presidency, National Assembly and the Judiciary are located.

As of the time of filing this report, the situation was still tense and unfolding.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a Shia organization inspired originally by the Muslim Brotherhood is led by Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’.

Members of the group have conducted a series of protests in Nigeria’s capital and other locations mostly in Northern Nigeria to call for the release of Sheik El- Zakzaky, following his arrest in December 2015 when the Nigerian Army stormed the IMN spiritual  and organisational headquarters in Zaria, Kaduna State.

At least 300 people and likely many more, were killed and hundreds more injured during the raids at the Hussainniya Baqiyyatullah mosque and religious centre in the Gyellesu neighbourhood in Zaria.

In 2019, an Abuja High Court approved an application by Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice  to outlaw the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, days after members of the group were killed during another protest.

A young journalist and a senior police officer were also killed by stray bullets.

In October 2018, Nigerian soldiers killed scores of IMN members in Abuja.

Over the past years, dozens of IMN members have been arrested in various protests organised by the group since 2015.

A few days ago, HumAngle reported that Zeenah Ibrahim, the wife of Ibrahim Zakzaky, had contracted COVID-19.

Zeenah  is in detention along with her husband, Zakzaky at the Kaduna Correctional Centre.

Confirming Zeenah’s state of health, the statement, signed by the movement’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, complained she “has not been taken to any specialised hospital for such patients to receive proper medical care.”

Medical reports exclusively obtained by HumAngle have confirmed that Zeenah Ibrahim contracted COVID-19 while at the correctional centre.

The Kaduna State Command of Nigerian Correctional Service had earlier denied that Zeenah contracted the infectious disease as claimed by the IMN.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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