The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has called on the Plateau and Katsina State Governments to release “scores of minors” that have been held in captivity for nearly a week without justification.

In a press release issued on Monday, the Shiite group stated that its members were arbitrarily arrested in large numbers last Wednesday, 12 October, coinciding with the beginning of Muharram, an Islamic holy month that is particularly significant for Shiites. Several of those arrested were minors, according to IMN, including a four-year-old, who is being held in Jos.

The group questioned the continued detention of its young members in Katsina and Plateau States, emphasizing that youths arrested in Kaduna and Kano were released on bail due to their status as minors.  

“We hereby call on the authorities of these two States to release these minors who have by now unjustifiably spent about a week in jails,” the statement read. “This is an embarrassment to the nation.”

The IMN further called on the two State governments to give proper medical attention to the detainees who were injured by security agents.

“Those who were brutalized and injured among those in detention are yet to receive medial attention…All humanitarian laws recognize that prisoners should not be denied medical treatment,” the press release read.

The group condemned the unjust treatment of its members, saying that they have been discriminated against for their faith. It added that the arrests were part of a plot composed by Kaduna State Governor El-Rufai, who banned the IMN in the State last week.

“We believe that El-Rufai is inciting hatred with a view to minority cleansing in his self-styled war against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria,” the group stated, referring to the Zaria Massacre of December 2015.

“We therefore reiterate our call for the unconditional release of our leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, his wife and all others under detention for almost a year now. The continued detention is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights.”

Soldiers surround Shiites protesters

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