Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nigerian Shia Muslims protest over military crackdown

Shia shrine in Zaria city

Shia Muslims are protesting in six northern Nigerian cities against a military crackdown they allege has left hundreds of their members dead.
Many businesses have shut in Kaduna, one of the cities worst-affected by the demonstrations, a BBC reporter says.

On Monday, Shia-dominated Iran summoned a Nigerian diplomat in Tehran to protest against the crackdown.
Nigeria's military accuses the pro-Iranian sect of trying to assassinate army chief Gen Tukur Buratai.
The sect, known as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), denies the allegation.
The group wants to set up its version of an Islamic republic in Nigeria and has frequently clashed with the army.
Shias are a minority in Nigeria, where most Muslims belong to the rival Sunni sect.
On Sunday, government troops arrested IMN leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky after besieging his home in the northern city of Zaria.
Sheikh Zakzaky
Image captionSheikh Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, is inspired by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini
The latest protests were triggered by a photo that went viral on social media, purportedly showing him sitting on the ground with a bloodied face.
The IMN has its headquarters in Kaduna, where security forces have taken up positions at strategic places as IMN members protest in the streets, says the the BBC's Nura Muhammed Ringim in the city.
Some residents are staying in doors because they fear violence could erupt, he says.
The cities of Kano, Katisna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Bauchi have also been hit by protests.
Map of Zaria
The IMN alleges that the military killed hundreds of its members in Zaria at the weekend, and destroyed a religious shrine and the home of Sheikh Zakzaky.
The military has not given casualty figures, but has denied the IMN's claim that the wife of Sheikh Zakzaky, Zeenat Ibrahim, was killed during the weekend clashes.
Maj Gen Oyebado, the army head of the Kaduna division, said on Monday that she was in the army's custody.
He did not confirm or deny the death of the couple's son, Sayyid Ibraheem Zakzaky.
Last year, three other sons of Sheikh Zakzaky were killed in clashes between the army and pilgrims in a religious procession.
Sunni Muslim jihadist group Boko Haram also staged an attack on a Shia procession, recently killing at least 21 people.
Boko Haram condemns Shias as heretics who should be killed.

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