Monday, 14 December 2015

Nigerian troops on Monday evacuated the bodies of
Shiite Muslims killed in two days of clashes with the
army in northern Zaria, home base of the pro-Iranian
group, its spokesman and residents said.
The army carried out crackdowns on Saturday and
early Sunday against the pro-Iranian Islamic
Movement of Nigeria (IMN) led by Ibrahim Zakzaky,
whose whereabouts were unknown, they said.
"We have reports that bodies of our members killed
outside the house of our leader are being evacuated
in trucks by soldiers," IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa
told AFP.
The IMN, which seeks to establish an Islamic state
through an Iranian-styled revolution, has been at
loggerheads with Nigeria's secular authorities,
leading to occasionally violent confrontations.
The group's spokesman said the victims of the
violence included Zakzaky's wife, son and the former
IMN spokesman.
"We can't give a precise figure of the deaths but it is
huge given the number of the members that
answered the call to protect the house from the
invading soldiers," he said.
"I can confirm that the wife of our leader Zeenat
Ibrahim and her son Ali were among the dead. Our
national spokesman Ibrahim Usman was also killed,"
he said.
The group's leader has periodically been incarcerated
for alleged incitement and subversion.
Northern Nigeria is majority Muslim and largely
Sunni.
Musa said the whereabouts of Zakzaky were
unknown.
"We have been getting conflicting reports with some
saying that he has been taken away by soldiers while
others are saying that he has been killed," he said.
Witnesses also spoke of soldiers removing bodies
around Zakzaky's house.
"This morning, soldiers started evacuating corpses of
followers of Zakzaky in trucks for possible disposal,"
resident Bashir Bello told AFP.
"A large number of his followers were gunned down
around his house on Saturday through Sunday
morning where they had congregated to protect the
house from military invasion," he said.
He said soldiers had mounted security checks as
residents and motorists were being searched before
entering the area.
The latest violence was sparked when Shiite faithful
on Saturday blocked the main road outside their
Husseiniyya religious centre, where hundreds had
gathered for a ceremony.
The military claimed the Shiites attacked the convoy
of the army chief, Yusuf Buratai, which left soldiers
no option but to retaliate.
The group however denied the claim.

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