Hundreds of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) supporters stormed the National Assembly premises in Abuja on Tuesday, July 9, wounding at least two police officers as they unsuccessfully attempted to gain access to the chamber. Anti-riot police, for their part, opened fire on the protesters, killing at least two, according to unconfirmed media reports.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near the National Assembly over the coming hours. Similar incidents remain possible in Abuja over the near term.
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.
Individuals in Abuja are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and the National Assembly area 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.
Copyright and Disclaimer