The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has said that the whereabouts of its leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky is unknown several days after he was arraigned before the state High Court.
The IMN released a statement on Saturday, in which they said phone numbers which the used to contact the Sheikh have all been disconnected.
“All the lines of the family members staying with the Sheikh while in detention in Abuja have been switched off,” read the statement.
“Followers of the Sheikh are deeply concerned with this latest development because those detaining him have never hidden their intention to see to his demise, had it not been for Allah’s protection. This was evident right from the December 2015 Zaria massacre by the Army,” it added.
The statement went on to call on Nigeria’s State Security Service to at least inform the Sheikh’s family about his current location, while stressing that the Nigerian government will be held responsible if anything happens to Zakzaky.
Zakzaky’s son also said he had lost contact with his father.
“As of this dawn, I would like to inform all those who may be concerned that I have lost all contact with my parents,” said his Muhammad.
On Tuesday, Zakzaky was transferred to the central state of Kaduna, where he was arraigned before the state High Court along with his wife.
An oral application was moved for bail. But the presiding judge asked him to put his application officially in writing.
The case was adjourned to June 21, 2018 and the Sheikh and his wife were consequently returned to Abuja.
Zakzaky has been detained without trial for over two years over accusations of inciting public disturbances. His movement has vehemently denied the charges.
Despite the ruling of a Federal High Court, which ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release in 2016, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.
The top cleric lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.
A judicial inquiry after the 2015 brutal raid concluded that the military had killed 347 IMN members in Zaria. Soldiers buried the bodies in mass graves.
Several international organizations and human rights groups have denounced “the Zaria massacre.”