There have been a total disorder in Nigeria’s capital Abuja where an Islamic grouping of Shia Islamic Movement are protesting in the streets demanding the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky who has been in detention since 2015.
Eleven protesters, a journalist, and a police officer were killed, while dozens of others were wounded or arrested, according to witnesses and authorities.
The group is also said to be calling for the authorities to allow their leader get proper medical care as it has been rumored that the leader’s healthy is not good.
“The Nigerian police’s apparent rush to use firearms against Shia movement protesters is unlawful and counterproductive,” said Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should bring an end to their violent crackdown on the Shia Islamic Movement in Nigeria, and investigate the excessive use of force by the police.”
The July 22 protest began at about 12:30 p.m., when several thousand protesters marched toward the Federal Government Secretariat to register their grievances. As they approached the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Police Force opened fire and threw teargas at the protesters, it has been reported.
On December 12, 2015, the Nigerian army used excessive force against the group’s street procession in Zaria, Kaduna State, in northwest Nigeria, allegedly to clear the way for the army chief’s convoy.
In an ensuing three-day crackdown, the army killed 347 members of the group and arrested hundreds more, including the group’s leader, El Zakzaky, and his wife, Ibraheemat.