The Nigeria Police Force has released the corpses of three slain members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), killed during the #Free-Zakzaky protest on July 22, 2019, in Abuja.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, the Academic Forum of the movement said three bodies of their members including Shaheed Suleiman Shehu, Shaheed Bilyaminu Abubakar Faska, and Shaheed Yakubu Yahaya Faska were released to them on Tuesday by the police while six bodies are still being held.
The development followed the Monday threat by the Islamic group to commence the process of committal to prison of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, and the Chief Medical Director of National Hospital, Dr. Jafaru Alunua Momoh over their disobedience to a court order ordering the release of the corpses of the protesters.
According to the statement, the bodies were released “In response to our press conference held in Abuja on Monday 3rd October, 2022, where we vowed to continue with contempt of court proceedings against the Inspector-General of Police, the police releases three out of nine corpses of Free Zakzaky protesters”.
“The protesters were killed by the police on Monday, 22nd July 2019, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, while protesting against the unlawful detention of His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Ya’qoub El-Zakzaky (H) and his wife, Malama Zeenah Ibraheem.”
“Up until this moment, there are still six corpses of protesters in police custody and we vow to continue the struggle to ensure the release of all the corpses”.
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) led by Shi’ite cleric El – Zakzaky said its followers have repeatedly been targeted by the Nigerian authorities. Hundreds of IMN members have been killed by the Nigerian security forces since 2017 mostly during their annual Ashura religious procession which is largely peaceful.
On 11 April 2016, the Kaduna state government admitted that 347 persons were killed during the December 12, 2015 Shiite/Nigerian Army clash in Zaria. IMN said at least 1000 of their members were killed or missing during the massacre which occurred when the sect members clashed with the army after the convoy of Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, was allegedly attacked in Zaria in December 2015.
In October 2018 security forces allegedly killed at least 42 IMN members during two days of violent crackdowns on protesters in the capital Abuja. The Nigerian army admitted it killed three members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria along the Abuja-Zuba Expressway between October 27 and 29, 2018. The army claimed that the protesters who were armed with stones and petrol bombs attacked soldiers from the Army Headquarters Garrison on official duties, escorting ammunition and missiles from Abuja to the Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna State. However, The New York Times contradicted the army, saying a video it obtained had shown that the soldiers shot at civilians who were fleeing the scene.
On 8 August 2022, at least six members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) were killed while several others sustained injuries during a procession to mark the year’s Ashura Day in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The leader of the IMN Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were released from Kaduna Correctional Centre after about five years in detention.