The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has dismissed the claim that the group plans to attack Nigerian service personnel, an allegation which was made in a leaked intelligence document entitled “Plans by Islamic Movement of Nigeria to Attack Service Personnel and Families.”
The document, dated May 12, 2016 with a reference number 3DIV/G2/240/01, claimed that certain IMN members have concluded their plans to begin attacking and abducting service personnel and their families. The document further alleged that abductees would be used as bargaining tools with the government and security agencies. It concluded by directing unit commanders to disseminate the information to their troops and to develop strategies to prevent the IMN from carrying out their attacks.
Upon receiving the document, the IMN dissociated itself from any plans to attack anyone, service personnel or otherwise, adding that it condemns violence in all forms.
“The IMN does not believe in nor practice violence in any form whatsoever and, quite unlike the Nigerian Army, embraces civil means of seeking redress as practically displayed in the cases filed before the courts of law seeking redress,” the group stated in its press release.
The group is seeking redress for the massacre perpetrated by the Nigerian military last December in Zaria, Kaduna State, in which 347 unarmed IMN members were killed. It was later revealed that the military attempted to cover up the massacre by burying the victims’ bodies in secret mass graves. International human rights organizations have called upon the Nigerian government to investigate these killings and bring the perpetrators to justice, but thus far, the government has failed to take concrete measures to this end.
The massacre also led to the unlawful arrest, abuse, and detention of IMN leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who remains in custody to this day.
Court proceedings filed by Sheikh Zakzaky’s legal team, headed by prominent human rights attorney Femi Falana, commenced on May 18 at the Federal High Court in Kaduna State.
The intelligence document was written and distributed by security officers seeking to instigate further violence against the IMN and prevent perpetrators of the massacre from being prosecuted by a court of law, the organization said.
“We categorically condemn this wicked and devilish attempt by these unscrupulous elements who use their offices to fabricate lies in the name of intelligence reports to seduce the authorities into wanton and incessant killing of innocent civilians as witnessed in the December Zaria massacre.”
The IMN added that the intelligence document represents an attempt by the Nigerian military to justify its actions and exonerate itself from its crimes against humanity committed against IMN members. Furthermore, it is an attempt by the military to prevent the IMN from seeking justice and compensation through the courts.
The statement concluded by reiterating the IMN’s non-violent position, stressing that it will continue to pursue justice through peaceful and legal means. The group then called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of their leader, Sheikh Zakzaky.