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Nigerian Army Attacks Shiite Muslim Group

by VOA News December 14, 2015

Nigerian army troops shot and killed members of a Shiite Muslim group during the weekend, after the group allegedly attacked the convoy of Nigeria's army chief.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) says soldiers killed up to 300 of its members in the northern city of Zaria, in Kaduna State. Other reports put the death toll much lower, at 20.

The violence began Saturday after members of the movement blocked a highway and according to witnesses stoned the convoy of General Tukur Buratai. An army spokesman called the stoning an 'attempt to assassinate' the army leader.

The Shiite group says there was no assassination attempt and that the army had launched a pre-planned attack on the group.

It says troops launched attacks and killed people 'indiscriminately' at three locations, including the home of the group's leader, Ibraheem Zakzaky. Zakzaky's wife and a son were among those killed. Zakzaky's whereabouts Monday were unclear.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria seeks to establish an Islamic state in nothern Nigeria through an Iranian-style revolution.

The group is not connected to Boko Haram, the Islamist radical sect blamed for more than 10,000 deaths in Nigeria during the past six years.

State media in Iran say Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has called on Abuja to take measures to keep Muslims safe. The IRNA news agency says Zarif made the remarks during a phone conversation Monday with his Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama.

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