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PRESS STATEMENT: Government responsible for acts of arson, butchery, murder and unwarranted arrests of IMN members yesterday

The governments of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states, using an amalgamation of security agents and operatives turned Wednesday 12-10-16 from what could have been a peaceful day for commemorating the martyrdom anniversary of the benevolent grandson of the Prophet, into another mourning day. 

These security operatives unleashed on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) the worst forms of state-sponsored terror tactics ever known, through a well-designed plot involving arson, butchery, murder and unwarranted arrests of IMN members in their states.

The pattern was uniform in all these places and it was not isolated coincidence. For most part, the Annual Ashura procession that we have conducted peacefully over the years had concluded without an incidence. Suddenly, a combined team of well-armed police, military, civil defence and other security operatives camouflaged as thugs (they are though) laid ambush on IMN members. Using all weapons at their disposal, they maimed, killed and arrested many in Funtua, Sokoto, Kaduna and Jos in particular. This savagery was followed by arson, particularly in Kaduna and Jos, where Islamic centres, schools and private residences were torched. As at the last count, not less than 20 members were murdered, over a hundred injured and over 300 arrested across these towns.

Everything about this latest brutality suggests that it was planned centrally but carried out locally. The pattern of attacks was the same. The tactics were the same. Even those so-called arrested had the same terms of bail, which they had made near impossible to meet. The silence of both the governments at state and federal levels at the degree of brutality is telling.

It was in Katsina state that the police command came up with an ingenious explanation by announcing to the world that it murdered our members in cold blood because they came to attack a police station. Obviously, the Police Commissioner was not briefed that the killings by his men took place nowhere close to any police station. Luckily the people of Funtua, who witnessed this crime against humanity, will not swallow this blatant lie hook, line and sinker. No one is left in doubt that we are being attacked by the government, without recourse to even the laws they claim to protect.

The police in Funtua concocted another video clip purporting to show local arms found with the IMN members they killed, which they now plan to air it on all NTA stations like they did in the aftermath of Zaria massacre. The fact that we are again victims of their brutality is enough to prove that the so called ‘recovered arms’ with our dead member were planted on them.

We hereby demand for the immediate release of all those arrested yesterday. They are prisoners of conscience, persecuted by the state for their beliefs. All they did yesterday was to exercise their religious duties peacefully. IMN wishes to reiterate as it has done several times that despite all intimidation by the government, we will not succumb to their plot of plunging the country into needless bloodshed in the disguise of religious differences. We will keep on pursuing the legal and peaceful means we have been adopting since the Zaria massacre in December 2015.

We will not be distracted in abandoning our quest for justice to be done in the premeditated attack carried out by the Military against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. We therefore once again call for the immediate release of our revered Leader Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky from the illegal detention has been thrown into for the past ten months, including all those incarcerated with him.
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