SHAFAQNA- Thousands of Nigerian Shias staged a fresh peaceful Protest in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, on Wednesday calling for immediate release of Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky whose health’s condition continues to deteriorate in detention, a day after security forces killed two Shia Muslims.
Despite Tuesday’s unprovoked attack by the Nigerian joint security forces, Nigerian Shias were chanting various slogans such as ‘Buhari Free Zakzaky’, ‘Guns cannot stop us from protesting’ etc. they were carrying banners showing pictures of the Shia cleric as well as people who lost their lives at the hands of government forces.
The peaceful protest demanding for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky on Tuesday the 9th of July was attacked by security forces in front of the National Assembly Complex. A combine team of Police and Soldiers opened fire on the protesters. Other reports said that police fired tear gas canisters toward the protesters and reportedly began firing live shots to disperse the crowd. During the attack, two have been confirmed killed by the securities on Tuesday the 9th of July 2019. One of the persons killed was 14 years old. Several others were injured and arrested.
“Protest is not a threat to peace but threat to oppression and oppressors. Whoever attack a protest is going against peace and must be seen as a criminal. The book of history is capturing and writing all the crimes committed by oppressors including the 2015 Zaria Massacre where hundreds were killed and buried in mass graves”, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) said.
Bafar, a 24-year-old student who was at the protest, said el-Zakzaky’s health is deteriorating and he’s not receiving adequate healthcare.
“The sheikh is a surviving corpse. He is just surviving but there is no guarantee of how long he will live because he is being kept illegally without proper medical attention”, Aljazeera reported.
Photos uploaded on the official website of the IMN showed that several wounded protesters were being assisted away by fellow protesters.
Last week, the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) announced that it had received reports that Zakzaky’s health condition had further worsened.
The IHRC — which had sent a medical team to Nigeria in April to examine the health condition of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife — has said the specialist treatment they require can only be fully accessed outside the African country.
Separately, members of the IMN also said last week that the cleric had been poisoned in prison and required urgent medical care abroad.
On Thursday, the IMN said in a statement that the group’s leaders would hold Nigerian President Buhari Muhammadu responsible “if anything should happen to Zakzaky or his wife in detention.”, tasnimnews mentioned.
The cleric’s son, Mohammad, told Press TV on Saturday that his father was in dire need of medical treatment, as “large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium have been found in his blood.” He said that the authorities intended to murder his father since they refuse to take any measures.
Bahrain governments have viewed Zakzaky as a threat. Since he founded the IMN in the 1980s, Shia Muslims in Nigeria have grown from a very small minority to around 3 million.
Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a 2015 raid by security forces that left more than 300 of Shias. His wife also sustained serious wounds.
The 2015 killings now known as the Zaria massacre came less than a year after another three of Zakzaky’s sons were killed by the army – in July 2014.
Despite a court order for his release in 2016, Zakzaky and his wife remain in government custody, triggering regular protests in the capital city of Abuja.
In October 2018, more than 400 Shiites were killed by soldiers during another Abuja protest.
After the 2018 massacre, IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa told German news outlet DW: “The Islamic movement is guided by and led by the principles of Islam, and Islam is a religion of peace. It only calls on people to understand it. It doesn’t force people to follow it.”, theAfricareport told.