Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has telephoned his Nigerian counterpart to protest the army’s deadly crackdown on pro-Iranian Shiites in the north of the African country, media reported Tuesday.
Rouhani called President Muhammadu Buhari to say that “minor disputes must not be allowed to turn into deep differences” among Muslims, the reports said.
He also requested information on the fate of the leader of Nigeria’s “Shia Muslims”, a commission of inquiry into the weekend crackdown and action by Nigeria to “appease the victims and restore calm”.
Nigeria’s charge d’affaires was told by the foreign ministry in Tehran late Monday that Iran “demands the Nigerian government immediately shed light on the incidents, treat the injured and compensate for damages”, IRNA said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also called for “immediate and serious action to prevent violence” against Shiites, in a telephone call to his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Dozens of people demonstrated Tuesday outside Nigeria’s embassy in Tehran to protest against “the massacre of Shiites”, while around 100 students rallied at a university campus, local media reported.
The army clashed on Saturday and early Sunday in the largely Sunni Muslim north with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and arrested its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky.
The IMN seeks to establish an Islamic state through an Iranian-styled revolution.
“We have reports that bodies of our members killed outside the house of our leader are being evacuated in trucks by soldiers,” IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa told AFP.
Musa said victims of the violence included Zakzaky’s wife, son and a former IMN spokesman.
The violence was sparked when Shiite faithful on Saturday blocked the main road outside their prayer centre, where hundreds had gathered for a ceremony.
The military claimed Shiites attacked a convoy of the army chief, Yusuf Buratai, leaving soldiers no option but to retaliate. The IMN denied the charge.[PM News]