The peaceful Shiite group the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has claimed that the Nigerian army has abducted two of its members from Katsina State and are now holding them incommunicado, according to the group’s statement.
The press release, signed by the President of the Media Forum of IMN, said that members of the Nigerian army abducted Sanusi Haruna from Dutsin-ma in Katsina State and Aisha Attah from Katsina metropolis.
It will be recalled that tensions between the Shiite group and the Nigerian military have been mounting following a brutal massacre of peaceful Shiite members in Zaria, Kaduna State in December 2015. During the Zaria Massacre the military abducted IMN leader Sheikh Ibrabim Zakzaky and have held him without charge since them. Sheikh Zakzaky was shot, brutalized, and had his eye popped out of his head while in military custody.
The full IMN press release can be read below:
ARMY HAS ABDUCTED MEMBERS OF IMN IN KATSINA
It has come to the notice of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) the abduction of two of its members by the Nigerian Army on their way back to their homes after evening session of Ashura mourning in Katsina state.
The abduction started on Monday 3rdOctober 2016 with Sunusi Haruna at Dutsin-ma, Katsina state. Some soldiers just bundled him into their van in a kidnap like manner, snatching the black flag of Ya-Husain from him. Since then he has been held incommunicado.
Then on Tuesday the following day, some soldiers in Katsina metropolis abducted a teenage Muslim sister, A’isha Attah, after attending the Ashura mourning session by sunset. She has since been reportedly whisked to Kano, though her whereabouts in Kano still remain unknown.
As at the time of writing this statement no offense has been established by the authorities holding members of the IMN, therefore we wish to inform the general public that the month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar is a period of mourning the killing of the Grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Imam Husain in the year 61 AH (680 AD). Incidentally these members of IMN were arrested when returning from such a mourning sessions.
We don’t want to believe that Nigerian secular Army, as an institution has been turned into a religious vanguard, but its recent actions in Katsina is indicating the contrary. When has Ashura mourning session become a crime in Nigeria?
A similar report in Jos, Plateau state and Potiskum, Yobe state, indicated that some soldiers were drafted to the centers where such Ashura mourning is being held, though there was no report of any incident. An important question begging for answer is why the intimidation by the Army?
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria hereby call on the authorities responsible for the arrest of our members to release them unconditionally, since they haven’t committed any crime. We also call on the authorities to stop any harassment by the military on our members henceforth.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM IMN