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Nigeria: Authorities must end deadly crackdown on Shi'a protesters

Six people have been reported dead in the Nigerian capital of Abuja following a government crackdown on supporters of the lslamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) who were protesting the detention of their leader.

Seun Bakare, Programme Manager at Amnesty International Nigeria, said:

“Eyewitnesses have told us that six people were shot dead amid a reckless use of lethal force by the Nigerian police against unarmed supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) today.

“This new crackdown is part of a shocking pattern in which security forces have used live ammunition to disperse IMN supporters who are simply exercising their freedom of expression.

“Images of IMN supporters being driven from the streets of Abuja with gunfire demonstrates once again the Nigerian authorities’ resolve to use lethal force rather than the rule of law in addressing the grievances of the IMN.

“The Nigerian authorities must promptly investigate in an independent and impartial manner the police shootings and bring to justice all those suspected of criminal responsibility in fair trials. The police must exercise restraint at all times and use force only when strictly necessary.”

Islamic Movement in Nigeria

The lslamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) is a Shi’a religious and political organisation whose leader, Ibraheem Yaqub El-Zakzaky, has been a proponent of Shi’a Islam in Nigeria since the 1980s. His detention was described by a federal court in December 2016 as unlawful and unconstitutional.

An investigation by Amnesty in October 2018 showed that the use of excessive force by soldiers and police led to the killing of at least 45 supporters of the IMN over two days. Between 12 and 14 December 2015, according to Amnesty’s research, more than 350 IMN members were killed by security forces in Zaria, Kaduna State.

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