Friday 30th of September 2022
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Israel and U.S. plot foils to assassinate African Shia Leader

A plot to assassinate Shaykh Ibrahim Yaqub Zakzaky, leader of the Shia Shia Islamic Movement in Nigeria, was foiled when news of it leaked out last month and the Shaykh as well as his followers spoke out against it. The diabolical plot hatched by the Nigerian security operatives at the orders of the American embassy in Abuja and in cooperation with the Israelis was to be carried out in Ramadan both before and during the Quds Day march. Quds Day rallies are held worldwide on the last Friday of Ramadan, which fell on September 18 this year. The plot was to be launched by bombing Shaykh Zakzaky’s residence in Gyallesy, Zaria. Speaking about the plot during Juma Khutbah on September 11, the Shaykh said, if they want to kill me, why do they want to bomb my house where my 88-year-old mother and young children live? He also called on the authorities to realize that such bombings would also kill his neighbors, who are completely innocent.

Details of the plot indicate that in addition to American and Israeli involvement, it also had the backing of the Saudis whose paid preachers are scattered throughout the country. Nigerian security operatives had met in Abuja, the country’s capital, in early September to put final touches to the plot. Part of it included unleashing a wave of denunciations of Shaykh Zak-zaky and his followers by Saudi-funded “ulama” who would brand his group “heretics.” This is an old ploy used against people that the regime wishes to target. The attack plan was concentrated in Zaria where the largest Quds day rally takes place each year although such rallies are held in other states — Kano, Katsina and Delta — as well.

The Nigerian security operatives set up a special “Anti-Terrorist Squad” and dispatched its members to all the states but their primary focus was on Zaria. The plan was to carry out a massacre during the Quds Day procession by accusing demonstrators of disobeying orders and disturbing the peace. This was to be followed by fanning out into other towns under the pretext of hunting fleeing members of the movement and remnants of the dislodged “Boko Haram” group. Checkpoints were also to be set up to prevent any help from reaching the Shia Movement from other areas. At the same time, government-sponsored “ulama” were to mount a propaganda campaign against the Shia Movement by denouncing it as a “deviant sect” whose leader and members deserved elimination. This was intended to limit sympathy for the group from ordinary people if the massacre turned ugly, especially with women and children being murdered in cold blood. 

Unlike the past when groups were instigated to attack Shaykh Zakzaky’s movement, this time the security forces were to carry out the massacre themselves. Additionally, plans had been prepared to take members of the Shia Movement into the bush before executing them. This would avoid arousing sympathy for them if people saw the brutal tactics of the security forces.

The government was not content with simply attacking and killing the leader and active members of the Shia Islamic Movement. There was also a long-term plan; this would be the next phase of the operation and was to identify those scholars that are aligned with or have sympathy with the Shia Islamic Movement. They would be targeted in two ways. First, an attempt would be made to buy them off; those willing to cooperate with the regime would be rewarded and provided opportunity to espouse hatred against the Shia Movement. The rest would be hunted and eliminated.

The plan also included an intense media campaign in which various outlets were to be utilized to carry government propaganda and statements of “ulama” against Shaykh Zakzaky and his group. One, Dr. Gumi stands out as the most willing tool of the regime and has been given free rein to espouse hateful messages from the Sultan Bello mosque. He is allowed to preach hatred and violence despite the fact that it contravenes an agreement whereby clerics are called upon to guard against divisive and inciting statements during Ramadan. Particularly targeted were Shaykh Zakzaky’s popular Ramadan Tafsir sessions that are attended by large numbers of people. In addition to such attacks, another ploy included the use of singers to attract people and to divert them away from Islam. 

The Kaduna State police commissioner was in the forefront of this campaign against Shaykh Zakzaky. It has come to light that he had earlier sent an intelligence report to Abuja proposing drastic action against Shaykh Zakzaky and the Shia Islamic Movement. In his report, he admitted that the US embassy in Abuja had demanded firm action. He was also reported to have held meetings with district heads, Islamic scholars and community leaders in Kaduna in preparation for the planned onslaught.

This is part of the US war on terrorism in which any Islamic activist or independent-minded alim is targeted for assassination. In Nigeria the Zionists are also very active. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a well-known racist, had only a few weeks earlier visited Nigeria. The visit was presented as part of an agreement on agricultural and technological cooperation between the two countries but it also included a security pact whereby Israel would not only train Nigerian security personnel but also be directly involved in local security operations. The plot to assassinate Shaykh Zakzaky coming within days of Lieberman’s visit could not be more revealing especially in view of his racist views and hatred of Islamic activists.

Shaykh Zakzaky is not new to such plots. He has spent many years in prison for defying successive dictatorial regimes in Nigeria. He has a large following among the people because of his courageous stand and sacrificing spirit. During the Quds Day rally that had set out from the Sabon Gari Masjid in Sabon Gari, Zaria on September 18, the security personnel attacked the rally and were planning to perpetrate a bloodbath at Kofar Doka Roundabout area where the march was to end. Despite the peaceful nature of the rally, the Nigerian Police Mobile Force stationed at Kofar Doka attacked the marchers. The Police not only used tear gas but also opened fire, shooting at least four people. One protester was reportedly martyred whose body was immediately taken away by the police.

 Faced with such violence, the organizers of the rally decided to change the termination point and the procession was diverted to the nearby Juma‘at Mosque in Tudun Wada Zaria. At the conclusion of the rally Shaykh Zakzaky spoke both about the Quds Day event as well as the police attack. He urged his followers to remain steadfast and not be cowed down by such terror tactics. Reflecting their anger and disgust at Israeli brutality in Occupied Palestine, Israeli flags were set on fire amid shouts of Allahu-akbar and anti-Zionist slogans.

The rally concluded with special du‘as and expressions of solidarity with the oppressed people of Occupied Palestine. It would seem, however, that in Muslim countries it is now a crime to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine and those who do so are likely to face the brutality of the security forces to please their American and Zionist masters.

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