Nigeria Police on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN. The members of the IMN were demanding the release of their leader
Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Mr. E-l-Zakzaky has been in detention since December last year after soldiers killed and secretly buried over 300 members of the Shiite group in a massacre that has been condemned by local and international rights groups.
The soldiers said the Shiite members blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and tried to kill him. A Kaduna State panel indicted the military for the massacre but condemned the Shiite group for allegedly constituting a government unto itself within the state.
The Federal Government has given contradictory reasons for still detaining the Shiite leader. While the government said in court that it was holding Mr. El- Zakzaky in protective custody, the Foreign Affairs Minister said last week Friday in the United States that he was being held while the government studies l the report of the KAduna panel. On Thursday, the IMN members chanted
“Free our Leader El-ZakZaky, Even if we are going to die we will not stop,” as they protested.
The protesting Shiite members in their hundreds also defied police barricade mounted to stop the seemingly peaceful protest.
A witness who was at the scene told IGBERE TV that several arrests were made by the police and some members injured during the dispersal. Mr. El-Zakzaky’s lawyer, Femi Falana, has said the soldiers attack in December blinded one of the eyes of his client while the other is still damaged.
On Friday, the Nigerian minister Geoffrey Onyeama said the government was providing the best medical treatment to Mr. El-Zakzaky in detention, a claim refuted by the IMN members who demand their leaders immediate release. Watch video here.
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