PRESS RELEASE - Nigeria: Armed police surrounding IMN centre
The Markaz has been encircled since 10 December in a deliberate attempt to stop the IMN from holding peaceful marches
Armed security forces continue to surround an IMN (Islamic MOvement of Nigeria) centre in the northern Nigerian city of Sokoto in order to prevent supporters from holding their annual commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.
The Markaz, as it is known, has been encircled since 10 December in what the IMN says is a deliberate attempt to stop the movement from holding the peaceful marches that take place every year to mark the event.
Photos from the scene (attached below) obtained by IHRC show several police pick-up trucks in the vicinity of the Markaz.
In a strongly-worded letter to the governor of Sokoto, the IMN said it had "come to the conclusion that there is a grand conspiracy to attack the annual Maulud peaceful procession, which have been one of the major religious rites being observed by members in the state and across cities in Nigeria".
Despite the continuing persecution of the IMN, Maulud processions have taken place in recent days including Kano, Kaduna, Potiskum and Katsina.
However police prevented the procession from taking place in Zaria, the scene of last December's massacre by armed forces of at least 1000 IMN supporters.
The latest moves against the IMN comes after an order by Nigeria's High Court for the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.
Together with his wife Zeenah, he was shot and detained in the attack last December and has been held mainly incommunicado and without charge ever since.
Despite the order that the state security services free them within 45 days, the couple remain in detention and have been moved from their previous location.
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