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189 Shiite members remanded in prison as trial begins



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A Kaduna magistrate court ratified the continued detention of 189 Shiite Muslims following the Zaria massacre in December last year.

On December 12, 2015, Shiites under the leadership of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky clashed with the Nigerian soldiers in Zaria leading to the killing of hundreds of members of the sect.

According to the official accounts of the Nigerian Army, members of the Shiite group blocked the route of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff General Buratai thus prompting a confrontation. However, the group denied the accusation.

Human rights groups claimed that the Zaria massacre left hundreds of Shiite Muslims dead.

The Nigerian Army also eventually destroyed religious sites and personal property belonging to the Shiites’ leader El-Zakzaky.

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The court session took place in Kaduna amid tight security within the prison yard.

The members of Shiites movement were being imprisoned for inciting public disorder, the unlawful blockage of state and federal roads, and also the illegal possession of dangerous arms.

The presiding judge, Auwal Aliyu, adjourned the trial to March 29.

Defence lawyer Husseini Ibrahim told newsmen that his clients were arraigned in court for the first time since they were arrested following the incidents in Zaria last December last year.