The Human Rights Watch on Friday warned against what it described as the “Violent repression of Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN”.
In a statement on its website, the HRW said Nigeria’s government should hold accountable all those responsible for crimes committed against the IMN in the country.
“Nigerian authorities should end their violent repression of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and free its leader. The involvement of soldiers in the Zaria incidents, and subsequent police actions against the Islamic Movement raises major questions about Nigeria’s commitment to military reform,” the statement signed by Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch said.
“Nigerian authorities should hold accountable anyone who has committed crimes against Islamic Movement members, and take immediate steps to comply with a federal court order mandating the release of Sheik El Zakzaky and his wife,” the statement said.
It further called for the protection of the IMN members against “heavy-handed crackdown” by security operatives.
“Nigeria’s federal and state authorities should reconsider the heavy-handed crackdown against IMN members, take urgent steps to protect them, and hold those responsible for the unlawful deaths of group members to account.
“The government should carry out its law enforcement responsibilities without jeopardizing its own credibility by ignoring court decisions that rightly seek to check its agents’ excesses,” it said.
The IMN leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested on December 14, after a clash between its members and the Nigerian army.
The clash resulted in the death of over 300 members of the movement.
Various other attacks in October and November, led to the death of several more IMN members.
A court order issued on December, 2 for the release of Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife within 45 days is still yet to be complied with, by Nigeria’s security agencies.