Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:56AM
Shia Muslims are seen lying on the ground amid a raid by Nigerian government troops (unseen) targeting the house of top Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky in Zaria, December 12, 2015.
Shia Muslims are seen lying on the ground amid a raid by Nigerian government troops (unseen) targeting the house of top Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky in Zaria, December 12, 2015.
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As another member of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria dies of injuries in prison due to a lack of medical care, rights groups await the outcome of an official investigation into the December 2015 massacre.

Shia Muslims were attacked by members of the Nigerian army, who accused them of blocking the convoy of a high-ranking army official with the intention of assassinating him. The leader of Nigeria’s minority Shia community – and head of the IMN – Sheikh Zakzaky remains incarcerated.

The Zaria massacre and subsequent raid on Zakzaky’s home led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community, including three of Zakzaky’s sons. It has been a similar fate for Shias in Saudi Arabia, where the regime has executed leading Shia scholar Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The same fate awaits his nephew, Ali.

Both Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have been concerned by the rising population of Shias in their countries and have been heavy-handed and brutal in their repression of alleged dissidents. When Shias are targeted and massacred by Takfiri groups, such as Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and ISIL, as well as the regimes under which these groups operate, such as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, the global dynamics are further altered. In Africa Today, we ask ‘when will the persecution of Shias under these two regimes end?’