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DSS Reacts To Rumors That Detained Islamic Cleric, El-Zakzaky Has Died in Detention

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiites, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, whose health conditions reportedly deteriorated in recent times, have been rumoured to have died in detention. 

The nation’s capital, Abuja, was tense for the most part of yesterday, while military armoured tanks and heavily armed policemen patrolled the streets of Kaduna in a show of force. The Guardian reliably learnt the cleric might have passed away yesterday, with the authorities hurriedly putting security measures in place to forestall violence by his supporters and persons sympathetic to his cause.

A meeting of a paramilitary body in Kaduna, yesterday, was swiftly concluded with members warned to stay indoors and not travel back to their states for fear of a possible backlash following the rumoured death. Followers of the embattled cleric have for months called for his release. The authorities, however, appeared to have had other reasons for holding him, despite court orders granting him bail.

The army, allegedly holding the cleric in “protective custody”, was silent on his current fate. Calls and text messages to spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman Kukasheka, at 3:18 p.m. and 3:48 p.m., yesterday, to confirm the matter were not replied to before press time.Other security sources contacted for confirmation also kept sealed lips.

A call to the embassy of a notable Arab country with presumed links to the cleric did not yield any result, as the cultural envoy was said to have travelled overseas and was not in a position to comment.

Meanwhile, the Department of State Service (DSS) have insisted that the health condition of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiites, remains stable and good.

The clarification by the DSS on El-Zakzaky’s health condition came on the heels of speculations of his worsening state of health and rumours of death. El-Zakzaky had been held by the federal government for more than two years over what the government said was an attempt to breach national security.

Several court judgments calling for El-Zakzaky’s release have been rebuffed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. El-Zakzaky’s incarceration by the federal government has continued to receive knocks and criticisms across the country.
IMN on Wednesday staged a protest in Abuja.

Speaking to ThisDay on the health condition of the IMN leader, a senior DSS official said: “His health remains stable and good.”

Though the source, who requested for anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the matter stressed that the rumours were far from the truth, as El-Zakzaky’s health has not deteriorated to that level.

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