Nigerian state orders arrest of banned Shiite group's spokesperson

2016-10-10 07:43


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Kano - A northern Nigerian state on Sunday ordered the arrest of a spokesperson of a pro-Iran Shiite group banned two days ago as a security threat.

Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) spokesperson Ibrahim Musa "owned up to being the spokesperson of an unlawful society", the governor of Kaduna state said in a statement.

"This is deemed as a deliberate and determined affront... and the law has to take its course," it said, calling for security forces to work "vigorously" to arrest Musa.

Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai had on Friday banned the IMN, saying it was a threat to Nigeria and warned that members of the group could face up to seven years in jail for violating the ban.

But Musa had dismissed the ban as illegal, vowing the group would challenge it through all "legitimate means".

Mass graves

Musa told AFP he is "in touch with his lawyers" about the arrest order.

"Meanwhile I'll not submit myself to the authorities as they requested," he said.

Clashes between the Nigerian military and IMN supporters led to over 300 deaths in December last year.

Two days of violence began on December 12, when supporters of the pro-Iranian cleric and IMN head, Ibrahim Zakzaky, refused to allow the chief of army staff's convoy to pass through the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna state.

Rights group Amnesty International later accused Nigeria's military of shooting dead more than 300 Shiite Muslims, burying them in mass graves and destroying evidence of the crime.

IMN leader Zakzaky, who lost an eye and was left partly paralysed in the violence, has been held in custody since December, with fears the military crackdown could result in a violent uprising similar to the devastating Boko Haram insurgency.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa

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