Aug 14 2019
Nigeria’s Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife have arrived in India to receive medical care for the injuries they sustained in a brutal raid by Nigerian forces in 2015, when the couple was arrested to spend the next four years in detention.
The 66-year-old cleric, who is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), and his wife, Zinat, arrived in the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday and were welcomed by a large number of supporters, according to the IMN.
The movement also said that the couple was then taken to the Medanta Hospital Gurgaon for treatment and that Sheikh Zakzaky was suffering from a number of medical conditions due to large amounts of “lead in his body from bullets.”
A Nigerian court had granted the Muslim cleric bail last week so that he could fly to India for treatment.
On Monday, the Information Nigeria news outlet reported that the couple was heavily escorted by armed security forces of Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency, Department of State Services (DSS), from their residence in the city of Zaria to the airport in the capital, Abuja, where they could fly to India.
The report said that the sheikh was being accompanied by officials from the security services as well as medical personnel on the trip to India.
In December 2015, the cleric’s home in Zaria was raided by security forces. During the raid, he was beaten and lost his left eye. His wife sustained serious wounds, and three of his sons and more than 300 of his followers were killed.
A litany of charges, including murder, was brought against Sheikh Zakzaky in April 2018. The Nigerian state he is responsible for an incident during which the Nigerian army chief’s convoy allegedly came under attack by his supporters. Sheikh Zakzaky denies all the charges.
Last month, Sheikh Zakzaky’s son, Mohammad, said that he was shocked by his father’s worsening medical condition after visiting him, stressing that he needed to be immediately hospitalized as “large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium have been found in his blood.”