Nigeria: State of Kaduna bans Shia group led by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky 0

The Nigerian state of Kaduna has declared a mainstream Shia group led by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky as illegal as a state crackdown against the Muslim community continues. The Kaduna state government warned on Friday that those convicted of being a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) could be imprisoned for seven years, fined or both.

It further claimed that the Shia group had “overtly continued with unlawful processions” and “obstruction of public highways” since last December when the Army forces clashed with the IMN members. “These acts, if allowed to go unchecked will constitute danger to the peace, tranquility, harmonious coexistence and good governance of Kaduna state,” the Nigerian state added.

On December 12, 2015, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria in Kaduna, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.

The following day, Nigerian forces also raided the home of the IMN leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and arrested the prominent cleric after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him. A judicial inquiry concluded in August that the Nigerian army killed 348 members of the religious community during the two-day raids.