By Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has promised to observe its religious rites despite the alleged crackdown on its members by security forces.
Leader of the movement in Bauchi State, Mallam A Yashi stated this at a press conference in Bauchi Wednesday while speaking on the recent incidences involving members of the movement during their Arba’een trekking in Kano, Fambeguwa and other places.
He said that their members have allegedly been attacked by security forces on their way to Zaria from various destinations who are observing the annual Arba’een symbolic trekking.
According to him, the Arba’een trekking is a religious rite being observed by members of the movement to commemorate the historical incidence which occurred in Karbala in which members of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) family were killed.
He said that the movement has been observing the annual event for six years without any incidence until two years ago when they had a clash with the Nigerian security forces in which over 1,000 members were killed.
Three children of the leader of the movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky were allegedly killed by the military during the incidence.
Zakzaky and his wife had been in detention since then and have not been released.
Mallam Yashi disclosed that two members of the movement were allegedly gun down in Kano while scores of others have been injured.
He further disclosed that members of the movement who assembled at Fambeguwa in Kaduna state were also tear gassed and forced to suspend the trek and returned to their various places.
The IMN leader in Bauchi however stated that as long as there is law which guarantees the freedom of religion in Nigeria, they will follow all legal means to observe their religious rights and obligations.
According to him, the movement have many pending court cases which it is pursuing its rights and that of its members and will not relent until the end.
He also lamented that despite the attack on its members by security forces, government has not come out with a cogent reason to justify its actions.
Fielding questions from journalists after the press conference, the leader maintained that the movement is peaceful and its members have never carried arms against anybody.
He noted that even after the alleged massacre of their members and the unlawful detention of their leader and his wife and the killing of his six children, the movement have not became violent or carried arms to fight the authorities.