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PRESS RELEASE FROM IHRC LONDON: Nigeria: Army looking to frame Islamic Movement

IHRC (Islamic Human Rights Commission) has received credible reports that fresh from its recent killing spree in Zaria, the Nigerian army is concocting a pretext to move against more leaders of the country’s Islamic Movement.

IHRC is concerned that a false flag attack was staged against a military site earlier today by the Nigerian army in order to implicate members of the Islamic Movement. It is feared that the attack will be falsely attributed to members of the Islamic Movement and used by the Nigerian army to justify further violence against the Islamic Movement.

After hearing of the attack, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria released a statement refuting any suggestions that it would resort to violence despite the bloody military crackdown on the group that has killed hundreds of its followers.

"We wish to draw the attention of relevant security agencies and the general public that the IMN is not and will never be involved in any armed conflict with the security agencies or any other group in society. Therefore any such attack attributed to IMN is false and mischievous," it said.

The Movement is particularly alarmed by a statement issued by the army saying it will "not sit back" and allow the head of IMN’s Resource Forum, Dr Abdullah Danladi, to create what it calls "unnecessary tension and disaffection in the society". The army accuses Mr Danladi of spreading misinformation about the recent army violence against civilians in Zaria.

The Islamic Movement’s leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky was amongst those shot and detained when soldiers began attacking the group in Zaria on 12 December. His condition and whereabouts are still unknown. 

In its rampage the military has deliberately targeted the symbols and institutions of the Islamic Movement. Sheikh Zakzaky’s personal residence has been destroyed, as has his mother’s grave, and the Hussainiyyah Baqiyatullah which served as the movement’s centre, in a bid to uproot the popular grassroots movement in its heartland.

Photographs and testimonies have also emerged of mass graves where the army is reported to have buried victims of its attacks.

Many in civil society organisations have condemned the atrocities committed by the Nigerian army against the Islamic Movement. Matthew Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto called for a national day of mourning for those killed by the army in Zaria. He said “As far as I am concerned, the Zaria killing is a national disaster. I expected the President to have declared a national mourning, especially because of the number of people that lost their lives.”