The trial of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzazy, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), is expected to resume in Kaduna on Wednesday, July 11. Tensions are likely to remain high in the area, and associated demonstrations in support of El-Zakzazy are likely before and during the trial. Increased security measures, including road closures and traffic disruptions, are expected in Kaduna on July 11, especially on major roads leading to the Kaduna High Court, located near the Independence Way. Clashes between IMN members and security forces are also possible as protests have turned violent in the past. Related but more peaceful protests are also common in the capital Abuja.
The trial for El-Zakzazy was originally scheduled for June 21, and authorities closed down several main roads in Kaduna and around the High Court that day in preparation for it. IMN protests occur on a regular basis, especially in Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano states, despite a ban on the group's activities. Such protests have occasionally led to violent clashes between protesters and police, as well as arrests.
Zakzaky, a prominent Shi'ite cleric, was arrested in December 2015 when soldiers raided his home in Zaria (Kaduna state), killing a number of IMN followers in the process. The Nigerian Federal High Court ordered Zakzaky's release in December 2016, but he has nevertheless remained in detention. He was reportedly in poor health as of early January 2018, and IMN protesters have demanded his release for medical treatment.
Individuals in Kaduna are advised to avoid all protests due to the risk of associated violence, plan alternative routes, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
In general, the security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly concerning in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.
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