DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:45 PM) – Police forces in Kaduna, Nigeria, shot and killed a university student on Sunday during a violent crackdown on an Muslim rally for the release of unlawfully detained Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. This is reported by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
Abdulmalik Sani, a masters student at Kaduna State University, was killed when police opened fire with live ammunition as they dispersed a rally for the release of the influential Shia cleric.
Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky is a popular cleric who has been instrumental in the spread of Shia Islam amongst the Nigerian population since 1979, and heads the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). It is mainly due to Zakzaky’s influence that the Shia population of Nigeria, which was once nearly non-existent, now counts up to 4 million followers. However, Zakzaky has also drawn many Sunni and nondenominational Muslims to his cause of establishing an Islamic republic in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has at times cracked down harshly on the growing Islamic Movement of Nigeria, with police forces killing six of his sons in targeted assassinations in 2014 and 2015. In December 2015, Nigerian security forces raided the Sheikh’s home and massacred hundreds of his followers, after which Zakzaky was arrested. The Sheikh has been held in detention without charge or trial ever since, in violation of the country’s constitution.
“Today’s attack is yet another unjustified attack on the IMN and its supporters. It is a flagrant violation of the right to free assembly and free speech. These transgressions are only possible because the government has created a climate in which atrocities against the IMN can go unpunished.”, the IHRC stated.
Despite an order by the High Court of Nigeria on 2 December 2016 that ordered Sheikh Zakzaky’s release within 45 days, the government has failed to comply with the order, and Zakzaky still remains under state detention up until this day. According to several sources, the Sheikh is suffering from serious ailments as a result of his arrest and consistent denial of proper medical care, and is in risk of going blind as a result.