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.
Nigerian authorities accuse Zakzaky of trying to assassinate the Nigerian army chief, a charge that he has vehemently rejected.
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.