The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) claimed that Shia detainees that have been held in custody since the clashes with the army are being denied medical care.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

Ibrahim Musa, the IMN spokesperson, in a statement issued on December 21 said that two of its members died in detention on Sunday.

According to him at least 40 other injured Shiites – including their leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky – were also not receiving medical treatment.

Some activists claim that Nigerian army killed hundreds if not thousands of Shia Muslims in clashes in the town of Zaria in Kaduna state over three days from December 12 to 14.

However, the military says it responded after the members of the movement tried to killed Nigeria’s army chief Tukur Buratai – an accusation the Shia Muslims reject.

Musa also noted that police handed over the bodies of 12 members injured in a protest and later detained in Kaduna city on December 15.

The police on its part say they acted to avoid an attack on a police station and only fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Zubairu Abdullahi, a police spokesperson, said: “We only repel the sect who attempted to attack our station.


“We only used tear gas to disperse them. Maybe in the process of dispersing them, they sustained injury, I don’t know.”

Hundreds of Shiites took to the streets of Kano to demand the release of Zakzaky and other prisoners.

Some prominent Nigerians such as Sultan Muhammad Abubakar of Sokoto cautioned the government against actions that could radicalize other Muslims in a country that already has lost 20,000 lives to the Boko Haram insurgency.

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The sect that re-emerged as a much more violent unit after security forces attacked a mosque and compound and killed some 700 people in 2009.

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