Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have buried 42 of their fellow members that have been martyred by the Nigerian army during peaceful protests in the capital Abuja over the past two days.

Iran Press/ Africa: Nigerian army opened fire on Arbaeen mourners and members of the IMN who had marched to demand the release of their imprisoned leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, jailed since 2015, reported PressTV.

IMN protests have frequently been met with force. In April, police fired bullets and tear gas during days of protests by IMN, wounding at least four protesters.

Rights groups have accused Nigeria's military of killing more than 300 IMN supporters and burying them in mass graves during the 2015 conflicts, a charge the military strongly denies.

Nigeria’s crackdown on IMN followers began in December 2015, when the army attacked a religious ceremony in the city of Zaria in the northern Nigeria. Nigerian forces later raided the house of Sheikh Zakzaky and arrested him after killing those attempting to protect him.


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A Federal High Court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release in 2016, but the Nigerian government has so far refused to abide by the ruling.

A spokesman for the Islamic movement stated back in March that the government in Abuja was planning to indefinitely hold the cleric and his wife in custody.

Local Nigerian media reported on Saturday that Nigerian security forces opened fire on Muslim worshipers who convened for a religious procession in Zuba, in Gwagwalada area of the capital Abuja, marking Arbaeen, the 40th day after martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third infallible Imam of the Prophet's Household (peace be upon them).

Those martyred in the attack were members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a group subjected to a harsh government crackdown over the past three years.

The Muslim worshipers had gathered near Abuja from Suleja, in Niger state, for a three-day procession to commemorate the annual Arbaeen occasion, according to local media reports.  

A Federal High Court had ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release in 2016, but the Nigerian government has so far refused to abide by the ruling.

Also, Iran has strongly denounced the recent deadly incident in Nigeria in which several Shia mourners were killed by security forces.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on October 30, highlighted the need to respect religious ceremonies held by Shia Muslims in the country.

“We have received conflicting news about the incident, and we are closely monitoring relevant developments and news, waiting for the different dimensions of the incident to come to light,” Ghasemi said few days later after Nigerian army killed 16 peaceful Arbaeen marchers in Abuja on Saturday October 27.


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