They used teargas and water cannon to disperse the peaceful
protesters who were demanding an end to the illegal detention of the senior
Hundreds of Shia Muslims, most of them women, took part in the
demonstration, al-Sharaq al-Awsat reported.
A few months ago, Amnesty International called on the
Nigerian government to abide by a court ruling that called for an end to the “unlawful” detention of Sheikh Zakzaky.
The UK-based rights group said the government in Nigeria
could extend Zakzaky’s detention on trumped-up charges in a bid to justify the
crackdown on IMN members.
On December 12, 2015, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia
Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria in the
state of Kaduna, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of
staff and attempting to assassinate him. The Muslims categorically denied the
The following day, Nigerian forces also raided Zakzaky’s
home and arrested the clergyman and his wife after reportedly killing those
attempting to protect them.
Nearly 350 members of the Shia movement were killed in the
clashes. The sheikh was brutally injured and his house was reportedly destroyed
by the army in the incident.
After detaining Zakzaky, the Nigerian government stepped up
its crackdown on the IMN.
In November last year, nearly 100 IMN supporters were killed
when Nigerian forces fired live rounds and teargas at mourners during a
peaceful march ahead of the Arba’een mourning rituals, which mark 40 days after
the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), the third Shia
imam. Authorities also destroyed a number of buildings belonging to the IMN.