The Nigerian army has been reported to have raided the residence of the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky in Zaria, northern Nigeria and arrested him and killing several of those protecting him. Amongst those killed were the Shia group’s several leaders.
During the attack the house of Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky and the sect’s spiritual headquarters known as Husainiyah were later destroyed by the army.
The fate of Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky, his wife Zeenat and son Ali is not known. Conflicting reports mention that all three of them were seriously wounded during the raid whilst others mention that Zeenat and Ali were killed.
There are conflicting reports by both the army and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria as to what led to the incident.
The attack on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, which opposes Boko Haram, an insurgency that Nigerian government is fighting against, is not new. In July 2014, members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria were on a procession to mark the annual Quds day in Zaria when the army opened fire and amongst those 30 plus who were shot dead were three of Sheikh Zakzaky’ sons.
The intimidation of Muslims on any basis, let alone on sectarian grounds is unacceptable and is indeed in violation of international human rights laws. This ongoing oppression of individuals, which is a clear violation of human rights law, must not be tolerated by the Nigerian Government which claims to stand for justice.
We call upon the Nigerian Government, the United Nations and the International community to intervene to carry out investigation into these killings, seek redress for the victims and their family members and let the culprits’ face the full force of the law.
In addition, we call upon the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately release Sheikh Ibrahim Ebrahim Zakzaky and others who have been held in captivity incommunicado and prevent further violence against them.