The Nigerian army has completely demolished a religious center belonging to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) following the recent massacre of Shia Muslims in the West African country.
The IMN’s website cited a local source as saying that the army bulldozed Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah in the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna State on Sunday.
This comes nearly a week after Nigerian soldiers opened fire on the people attending a religious ceremony at the site.
On December 12, more than a dozen people were killed after clashes erupted between the Nigerian army and Shia Muslims in Zaria, Kaduna State. The military accused the Shias of attempting to assassinate the chief of the Nigerian army staff. Nigerian soldiers opened fire on the people attending a religious ceremony at Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah, a religious center belonging to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
One day later, the revered Nigerian cleric and his wife were arrested during a raid by the army on his residence and the buildings connected to the Shia community in the city. Local sources said hundreds of people trying to protect the cleric were killed.
Nigerian officials refuse to comment on the whereabouts of Zakzaky. His other son said on December 16 that the family has not been able to contact the cleric since his arrest. The IHRC said on the same day that there was credible evidence of mass graves in Nigeria following the deadly attack on Shias.
The rights group, which put the toll at over 1,000, said the Nigerian military had secretly buried hundreds of bodies in the graves after storming the house of the Shia cleric.
The military accused the Shias of stopping the convoy of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and attempting to assassinate him. The IMN and its leader Ibrahim al-Zakzaky strongly rejected the assassination accusation.
IMN spokesman Ibrahim Usman also rejected an accusation by local officials that the movement had “blocked roads for four days” during the religious ceremony, which marked Arba’een, the fortieth day to follow the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the third Shia Imam.
One day later, Zakzaky was arrested during a raid by the army on his residence and the buildings connected to the Shia community in Zaria. Local sources say hundreds of people trying to protect the cleric, including three of his sons, were killed in the raid.