No retreat; no surrender. That is the resolve of the Shiites Muslim Sect under the name: Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, as their protests for the continued detention of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, continue in Abuja and its environs. Their spokesman, Shauibu Musa, affirmed on a radio programme in Abuja that they would not stop their protest until they achieve their aim of getting their leader released.
At least 10 of the protesters have been killed in the weeklong protests that started on Friday, October 5 and covers the two northern entry points into Abuja. Five were confirmed killed at the Suleja sector, three at the Nasarawa sector and two within the city centre, when they breached security at Wuse 2 and Central Business District. The Police have confirmed the arrest of over 400.
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Though the security were aware of their plan they could not pre-empt it because of the sheer number of the sect members. they had already infiltrated the city as harmless citizens and it was easy for them to link up at the appointed time and place.
Ibrahim Idris, inspector general of police, told State House correspondents on Wednesday that government would end the protests. “We have made some major deployments and all l can say is that we want to appeal to everybody to cooperate with us to end these crises and by the Grace of God, we will bring the protests to an end,”
It took a combined team of the military and police to repulse the protesters who the police said were armed with dangerous weapons and wounded at least three security operatives. Idris defended the use of “reasonable force”: “The agents were responding to the threats against security of lives and property within the FCT. It is our responsibility to take care of security.”
El-Zakzaky was arrested about December 13, 2015, when his IMN members blocked the convoy of Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, in Zaria, forcing the soldiers to fight their way out of the blockade. An alleged 340 members of the sect were killed and their leader was wounded and arrested.
A high court ruled on 2 December 2016 that his continued detention without trial was illegal and ordered to be released from Department of State Services detention to police custody within 45 days. The Court also ordered that the State pay El Zakzaky and his wife N50 million compensation. According to the, judge the DSS could not justify “holding him for his own protection” as sufficient reason for his detention without trial.