By Jimoh Babatunde
KADUNA—Members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria has called for the unconditional release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub Zakzaky, his sister-in-law, and other members incarcerated since last month as well as release of corpses of those killed for proper and befitting Islamic burial.
The group in a statement said since the December 2015 face-up with the Nigerian Army that the government has not been able to justify atrocities committed by the army that led to their members arrests.
“We are still adamant in our request that the Sheikh be set free unconditionally, because up to now the government has not been able to justify the unjustifiable atrocities committed by the army that led to his arrest.”
The movement they say is relieved that Zakzaky is still alive as revealed by members of the contact committee set up by the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, that visited their leader where he is being held by the federal government.
According to a member of the committee, Prof. Dahiru Yahya, they met the Sheikh and his wife Sister Zeenah Ibraheem in Abuja, who are all recuperating from the bullet wounds they sustained during the army’s attack on the Islamic Movement in Zaria.
The group said they welcome the development as “it is a step forward in quelling the anxiety of the teeming millions of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, all over the globe, in knowing at least the whereabout of the Sheikh and the condition of his health.”
The movement in the statement signed by the Media President, Ibrahim Musa, said they have been able to establish some figures that indicate how gruesome the avoidable attack by the Nigerian army has been.
“In our list there are about 730 people, men and women, who are still missing, since that fateful Saturday 12th December, 2015. These missing people were either killed by the army or are in detention, but whose where about is still unknown and undisclosed.
“Also there are 220 brothers of the Islamic movement in detention in Kaduna Central prison, some of them with fatal gun wounds and burns.
The Islamic Movement said from reliable reports that they have been able to confirm the detention where some of their members are being held by the Nigerian army in Kaduna, Bauchi and Abuja.
They said while they commend the NSCIA for its effort to resolve this crisis initiated and executed by the military, that an independent judicial commission under the watchful eyes of the international community be set up to unearth the truth and the perpetrators of the Zaria incident of last year.
“At the time of writing this statement, no single corpse has been handed to the families of those killed.”