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Shiites vow to sustain protest till El-Zakzaky, wife regain freedom

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Riot policemen wearing masks stand in a street during a violent protest of Shiite Muslims demanding the release of their detained leader Ibrahim Zakzaky, on July 23, 2019 in Abuja. – At least eight people were killed in clashes between Shiite Muslim protesters and Nigerian police in Abuja on July 22, with a journalist among those shot dead in the latest bloodshed over the detention of a religious leader. A policeman was also killed in the unrest, which broke out when hundreds of protesters from the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a Shia sect, marched demanding the release of cleric Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been held since December 2015 on charges including terrorism. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON / AFP)

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have vowed to continue their protest nationwide, calling on the Federal Government for the umpteenth time to release their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, his wife and stop police brutality.

A statement yesterday in Kaduna stirred fears that the sect (also known as Shiites) was on a procession from Zaria to Kaduna metropolis in protest of the continued detention of its leader.

Many workers and traders vacated shops and offices as early as 12 p.m. yesterday when the news of the march filtered in.

Immediately, armed security personnel were stationed at strategic streets, roads and highways to forestall the rumoured protest and breakdown of law and order. Two anti-riot lorries were seen leaving the Nigerian Mobile Police barracks to reinforce patrol teams in the city.

In the statement, one of the leaders and Chairman, Shuhada Foundation of the Islamic movement, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello Zaria, alleged: “As of now, 15 seriously injured people, some of whom we took to Abuja University Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada but were snatched by the police on Monday, July 22, are languishing in the detention centre of SARS and the Abuja abattoir without any medical care.

“Among them are five women in need of urgent medical attention. There is a 10-year-old boy in the detention facility, even though he has a bullet wound on his leg. In fact, we learnt that two of the injured died yesterday (Tuesday) because of their injuries. We demand that the authorities of SARS should give us access to the wounded so that we can attend to their medical needs.”

He further claimed: “The security agencies are working hard to portray the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terrorist organisation. That is why they have started killing people in our name, including our supporters. We decry this shameless play on people’s lives with reckless abandon.”


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