At least one person has lost his life and several others sustained injuries when Nigerian army opened fire on protesters demanding the release of top Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been held for four years on trumped-up allegations.
On Tuesday, dozens of supporters of the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), who has been held since December 2015 following a deadly raid by the Nigerian army troops on his residence in the country’s northern Kaduna State, took to the streets, calling for his immediate freedom.
Nigerian troopers fired shots at the demonstrators, killing at least one person. There are reports that two people had suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot in the chest.
The development came nearly a week after Nigerian police used live bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse Muslim demonstrators calling for the speedy release of Sheikh Zakzaky.
Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight when Nigerian government forces raided the northern town of Zaria more than three years ago. His wife also sustained serious wounds while more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed in the violence.
The cleric has been kept in custody along his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.
Back in 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered his unconditional release from jail following a trial but the government has so far refused to set him free.
Zakzaky’s legal team has long called for his release, saying he is suffering from health issues that require urgent medical care abroad but the state high court in Kaduna has denied the request.