IHRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this attempt to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the violence to the victims
From: Islamic Human Rights Commission
7 November 2017
PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: Authorities continue crackdown on IMN activities
Authorities in Nigeria have continued to clamp down on activities associated with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria after an attack on one of the group’s processions at the weekend resulted in the killings of at least four innocent people.
The governor of the state of Kaduna, which last year banned the group, has put security agencies on a state of alert to prevent the IMN from undertaking any marches or processions.
Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said the government would not hesitate “to arrest and prosecute anyone that marches in the state in the name of the outlawed IMN.” El-Rufai said he was concerned about reports of the violent clash between IMN members andÂ security agencies in neighbouring Kano State at the weekend.
Shortly after he spoke police began removing flags and posters showing support for the IMN in the town of Pambeguwa. They also arrested at least two men.
The “violence” to which el-Rufai was referring was in actual fact the latest police assault on members of the group attempting to make their annual trek in Kano to mark the 40th day remembrance (known as Arba’een in Arabic) of the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Husayn in 680AD.
Police attacked mourners without warning and without provocation as they dispersed at the end of last Sunday’s leg of the trek which is due to culminate in a huge rally in Zaria in a few days’ time.
IHRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this attempt to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the violence to the victims as they seek to do little more than exercise their legitimate rights of free assembly and religious expression. The reality, borne out by casualty figures, is that the violence in the dispute between the IMN and the Nigerian authorities has almost exclusively been one-sided and perpetrated by an organised, armed state security apparatus against unarmed and defenceless civilians.
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria, led by Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, has been the subject of a government witch-hunt since at least 2014 with its supporters coming under repeated attack. The worst of these was a savage assault on the group in Zaria in December 2015 in which at least 1000 people, including three of Zakzaky’s sons, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.
Nobody has ever been brought to justice for any of the atrocities.