NEW DELHI (Dispatches) -- Nigeria’s Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife arrived here Tuesday to receive medical care for the injuries they sustained in a brutal raid by Nigerian forces in 2015.
The 66-year-old cleric, who is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), and his wife Zinat arrived at the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport and were welcomed by a large number of supporters, according to the IMN. The couple was then taken to the Medanta Hospital Gurgaon for treatment.
According to the IMN, Sheikh Zakzaky is suffering from a number of medical conditions due to large amounts of "lead in his body from bullets”.
A Nigerian court granted the Muslim cleric bail last week so that he could fly to India for treatment.
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, Muhammad, 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.”
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi wished a speedy recovery for Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife in India.
Mousavi also expressed hope that while the top cleric is abroad for treatment, a better chance could arise for the IMN and the Nigerian government to settle their differences. He said the Islamic Republic supports the resolution of differences and that Tehran is ready to offer any help to achieve that goal.