Tehran Protests Against Attacks on Shias in Nigeria

Tehran Protests Against Attacks on Shias in Nigeria

The Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned Nigeria's charge d'affaires to protest against the recent deadly attacks by the African country's government troops against the Shia Muslim community in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria, in Kaduna State.
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, Press TV reported.
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 fate of the top Shia Nigerian cleric remains unknown since his arrest.

The unnamed Foreign Ministry official who received the Nigerian diplomat 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 all aspects of the incident, treatment of the injured and atonement for the damages," he said.
The Nigerian diplomat said he would convey Iran's concerns to his country's officials.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had earlier 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 Muslim nations attach significance to the fate of Zakzaky and his health condition.
"They call on the Nigerian government to take action to allay concerns about the issue," the senior diplomat said.
He added that Tehran has "very good" relations with Abuja and said Iran has told Nigerian officials that they are accountable for the incident.
Some reports had put the death toll of the Saturday attack at about 20 but the Islamic Movement of Nigeria said the army had killed hundreds of its members.

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