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23 Jul 2019 | 03:16 PM UTC

Nigeria: Gunfire heard in Abuja amid IMN protest July 23 /update 2

Nigeria News Alert

Gunfire heard in Abuja as Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) supporters continue protesting July 23; at least 11 killed in July 22 protest, according to IMN leader

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/23/2019, 12:00 AM until 7/25/2019, 11:59 PM (Africa/Lagos). COUNTRY/REGION Abuja

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Gunfire has been heard in Abuja on Tuesday, July 23, amid clashes between Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) protesters and security forces. Security forces have also fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, who are demanding the release of IMN leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. Police and soldiers have arrested an unspecified number of demonstrators. A related protest and associated clashes left at least 11 dead in Abuja on Monday, July 22, according to IMN leader Abdulhamid Bello.

As of 14:45 (local time) on Tuesday, clashes between protesters and police were ongoing in the Banex Plaza area, and protesters have been seen marching from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) toward the National Assembly.

A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in the affected areas over the coming hours. Additional clashes between protesters and security forces are possible. 


IMN leader Ibrahim 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. 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. Another related protest was held on July 10.


Individuals in Abuja 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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