On Wednesday, November 7, the Kaduna High Court of Justice denied bail for the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Reports indicate that he will remain in custody until at least its next hearing scheduled for January 22, 2019. Following the announcement, an IMN spokesman stated that the group will continue with to stage demonstrations in Abuja and other cities. A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are to be anticipated in the vicinity of any demonstration. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Violent protests broke out in Abuja on October 29-30, with IMN supporters demanding the release Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. During the protests, several INM supported were reportedly killed, with at least 400 others being arrested by security forces.
El-Zakzaky, a prominent Shi'a 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 El-Zakzaky's release in December 2016, but he has nevertheless remained in detention.
IMN protests occur on a regular basis, especially in Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano states, despite a ban on the group's activities.
Individuals in Nigeria are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
On a separate note, the security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly challenging in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to such areas.
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