At least 5 people have died and many more are wounded after police opened fire at a peaceful protest demanding the return of travel documents belonging to the leader of the Nigerian Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife.
Reports from the Badiko area of the northern state Kaduna say that the protestors were fired on without warning by a convoy belonging to the state governor Nasiru el-Rufai.
Women and children are among the casualties.
Just days ago, Rufai incited members of his party, The All Progressives Congress Party, to vote for his anointed candidate in upcoming elections in Zaria so that they may finish off remnants of the Shiites (as the followers of the Islamic Movement are pejoratively described).
Since the Zakzakys were released from illegal detention last July, they have been prevented from flying abroad to seek much needed medical treatment by Nigerian authorities who continue to refuse to return their passports.
The couple are taking legal action seeking the restoration of their passports but face stalling tactics from the government which seems determined to frustrate their efforts.
Sheikh Zakzaky has lead poisoning after sustaining four gunshot injuries during the 2015 massacre of Islamic Movement of Nigeria members and supporters by the country’s armed forces. The toxicity is believed to be a direct result of the shrapnel from bullets left in his body. The sheikh has also lost sight in one eye and the use of one arm and has suffered several strokes.
Mallimah Zeenah is also seriously ill with high blood pressure and can barely walk because of a bullet trapped near her spine.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222