Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) supporters are protesting in front of the Federal Secretariat in Abuja as of noon (local time) on Thursday, July 11, to demand the release of their detained leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Protesters are reportedly burning tires on nearby roads, and police forces are firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.
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.
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. 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.
Copyright and Disclaimer