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Eight-count charge filed against Shiite leader, El-Zakzaky

The Kaduna state government filed an eight-count charge of homicide against leader of the Islamic movement of Nigeria, (IMN) Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and three others.

The charges were filed on April 18.

El-Zakzaky with Gov. El-Rufai

The defendants are Mr El-Zazaky, Zeenah Ibrahim, Yakubu Katsina and Sanusi Koki.

The prosecution in the case is the Kaduna State government.

The first count, the defendants are accused of allegedly conniving to block the Sokoto Road in Sabon Gari district, Zaria while they were in possession of guns, knives and other dangerous weapons. The offence is punishable under section 59 of the Kaduna state penal code law, 2017.

Count two of the charge borders on the alleged commission of homicide. According to the charge, the IMN members were accused of killing a military officer, Yakubu Dankaduna, when the officer alighted from the convoy of the army chief to disperse the group. The allegation of homicide is punishable by death, under section 190 of the same law.

The third count of the charge contains alleged involvement of the group in unlawful assembly.

According to the charge, the members of the IMN committed the alleged offence by blocking Sokoto road, under the guise of performing religious functions, while the group wielded dangerous weapons.

Count four of the charge bothers on allegations of blocking the same road and preventing the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff from gaining access.

According to count five, the IMN members are accused of disturbing public peace by preventing other residents in the area from passing the road.

Count six involves an allegation against the four defendants, of inciting the IMN members to commit the alleged offence of homicide.

Count seven contains an allegation against the IMN members for inflicting harm on a military officer, Faggo Babayo, without provocation; while count eight contains an allegation of inciting disturbance of the peace in Zaria.

The latest controversy between the Shiite group and the Nigerian army began on December 12, when a convoy of the Nigerian army Chief, Tukur Buratai, was prevented from accessing Sokoto Road in the Sabon Gari District of Zaria.

Following the clash, the army under Mr Buratai’s watch attacked and killed over 300 members of the IMN.

The figure was confirmed by various reports including outcomes of investigations by the human rights watch and the Kaduna state government.

After the clash, Mr El-Zakzaky was arrested alongside his wife and detained by security operatives.

Despite a court order for their release in December 2016, the IMN leaders have remained in military custody till date.

Shortly after the court ruling, state governments outlawed the group, banning any form of gatherings by the IMN members.

Members of the IMN group began a daily protest early April to demand the release of their leader who was not charged, despite being detained for over two years.
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