Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) supporters are protesting in the Maryland district of Lagos as of early afternoon (local time) on Thursday, July 11, to demand the release of their detained leader, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. The protest is reportedly causing traffic disruptions in the area.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in the area over the coming hours. Clashes between protesters and security forces are possible.
A related protest took place earlier in the day in Abuja, with police forces firing tear gas at protesters who burned tires on roads.
Related protests have been held in Abuja since July 9. On July 9, at least two police officers were wounded by protesters who unsuccessfully attempted to gain access to the National Assembly building in Abuja.
IMN leader 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 Zakzaky's release in December 2016, but he has 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. Violent protests broke out in Abuja on October 29-30 2018, with IMN supporters demanding the release of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. During the protests, several IMN supported were reportedly killed, with at least 400 others arrested by security forces.
Individuals in Lagos 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.
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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