Iran has summoned Nigeria’s charge d’affaires to protest against the recent deadly attacks by the African country’s government troops against Shia Muslim community.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the Nigerian diplomat to receive Iran’s protest after the deadly attacks on Shias in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria, in Kaduna State.
Reports said soldiers on Saturday opened fire on Shia Muslims attending a ceremony in Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah, a religious center in Zaria. The Shias had reportedly stopped the convoy of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai as Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, was planning a speech in the religious center. Several Muslims were killed in the attacks.
Following the incident, Nigerian forces raided the home of the top Shia cleric and arrested him after killing several of those protecting him, including one of the group’s senior leaders and its spokesman.
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has confirmed that Zakzaky has been apprehended by government troops.
Fight Boko Haram not Shiites
Following last Saturday’s violent clash between the Nigerian Army and members of the Muslim sect, Shiite, in Zaria, Kaduna State, Iran has called on Nigerian authorities to respect religious figures and sites.
“Nigeria… is now dealing with problems arising from extremism and Takfiri terrorism and we hope that in these conditions preservation of calm and national unity in battling terrorism is prioritized while rash and unconstructive measures are avoided,” IRNA quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber-Ansari as saying on Sunday.
Jaber-Ansari expressed sorrow over the recent bloody clashes, which broke out between Muslim worshipers and government troops, Weekend.
Army versus Zakzaky
Nigerian authorities accuse Zakzaky of trying to assassinate the Nigerian army chief, a charge that he has vehemently rejected.
The fate of the top Shia Nigerian cleric remains unknown since his arrest.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry official condemned the raids on Shia Muslims in Nigeria and said the Islamic Republic is concerned about such “unacceptable” incidents.
He added that the Nigerian government is responsible for the security of holy Muslim sites and safety of Shia Muslims, particularly the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran firmly calls for the clarification of the aspects of the incident, treatment of the injured and atonement for the damages,” he pointed out.
The Nigerian diplomat, for his part, said he would convey Iran’s concerns to his country’s officials.
Importance of Zakzaky’s fate
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Monday called on Nigeria to determine the fate of Zakzaky.
Speaking in a live televised interview on Monday, Amir-Abdollahian said the Muslim Nigerian people and all nations in the Muslim world definitely attach significance to the fate of Zakzaky and his health condition.
They, therefore, call on the Nigerian government to take action to allay concerns about the issue, the Iranian diplomat said.