PRESS RELEASE - Nigeria: Army allows access to detained Islamic Movement leader

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Sheikh Zakzaky is suffering from four gunshot wounds while his wife has two


The Nigerian army has allowed access for the first time to Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the leader of the country's Islamic Movement, following its attack on the group last month.

A member of the movement, Professor Dahiru Yahya, visited the sheikh today. He is being held in a house in the capital Abuja along with his wife. Professor Yahya confirmed that the reports that both have been shot are true. Sheikh Zakzaky is suffering from four gunshot wounds while his wife has two. The pair are said to have received medical attention abroad.

In a statement issued today the Islamic Movement also pledged to continue its non-violent campaign to secure the release of Sheikh Zakzaky and other detainees. It called on the Nigerian government to release all the corpses of those it had killed in the attack to allow the families of the deceased to arrange for a proper burial.

Soldiers attacked the movement and its symbols in a 27-hour orgy of violence in Zaria on 12-13 December 2015, shooting and arresting Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Photographic evidence suggests that the sheikh was tortured.

During the unprovoked army assault, the leaders and institutions of the Islamic Movement were targeted. Sheikh Zakzaky's personal residence in Zaria was destroyed, as was the Hussainiyyah Baqiyatullah which served as the movement's centre. The army also destroyed the home housing the tomb of Sheikh Zakzaky's mother.

Following the attack on the Islamic Movement IHRC also received photographs and testimonies of mass graves where the army is reported to have buried fatalities from the killing spree in Zaria. The Islamic Movement has also accused soldiers involved in last month's bloody attack of raping women and burning the corpses of those it had killed.

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries or further details please email nadia@ihrc.org or call +44 20 8904 4222 or +44 7958 522196[Ends]