Reporter shot dead as protests in Nigeria over imprisoned Sheikh Zakzaky turn deadly

Journalist Precious Owolabi, who worked for Channels Television, is confirmed dead by bullet wound to the stomach as the protests in the capital condemning the imprisonment of religious leader Shaykh Zakzaky turn deadly.

The death toll was originally 8 people, however the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a non-violent religious and political organization founded in the 1970s by Sheikh Zakzaky, claim the death toll could be at 11 people. Reportedly only six of the bodies were able to be retrieved for burial.

Supporters of IMN were gathered on Monday in Abuja to demand their leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, who is currently being imprisoned by the Nigerian state since 2015 under what IMN describe as inhumane conditions, be immediately released. During the protests Nigerian state security forces claim one policeman was killed as well during the clashes.

Sheikh Zakzaky, an outspoken Shia cleric, is being held in a state prison alongside his wife, with his deteriorating health causing mass protests at his detention across Nigeria and in other major cities around the world. The protests seen in Nigeria’s capital on Monday saw an additional 54 protestors arrested by police and taken into custody to await prosecution.

During a different protest last week in the capital, IMN saw an additional 40 members arrested by Nigerian security forces with several more killed after the National Assembly building was closed and gunshots fired.

According to Amnesty International, since 2015 more than 400 supporters and members of IMN have been killed by Nigerian security forces, as the under-reported conflict between Nigeria’s state crackdown on IMN continues to run for more than 30 years now.

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