Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for the establishment of a fact-finding committee in Nigeria to investigate the recent military crackdown on Shia Muslim community in the African country.
“Under the present circumstances, we expect the Nigerian government to sympathize with all victims and prevent the persistence of any kind of unrest by issuing firm instructions,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
Local media said on December 12 that more than a dozen people were killed after clashes erupted between the Nigerian army and Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria, Kaduna State. The military accused the Shias of attempting to assassinate Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the chief of the Nigerian army staff.
Nigerian soldiers opened fire on the people attending a religious ceremony at Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah, a religious center belonging to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
One day later, revered Nigerian Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested during a raid by the army on his residence and the buildings connected to the Shia community in Zaria. Local sources say hundreds of people trying to protect the cleric were killed.
Rouhani further warned of plots to cause discord among Muslim countries and urged Muslim nations to remain united and vigilant against schemes.
“We should not let minor differences grow into deep-seated conflicts and differences,” Rouhani said, adding that the Muslim world currently needs to settle issues peacefully.
He also expressed Iran’s readiness to dispatch medical teams to Nigeria to treat those injured in the recent wave of violence.
Buhari, for his part, said he would fulfill his responsibility to ensure safety of the Nigerian Muslims and meticulously probe the recent deadly incidents.
Nigeria attacks pre-planned plot: Larijani
Speaker of Iran’s parliament (Majlis) Ali Larijani said on Tuesday that the recent bloody attacks against Shia Muslims in Nigeria were a pre-planned plot in the best interests of the Israeli regime.
In a letter to Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Dogara Yakubu, Larijani added that the painful incident was aimed at causing discord among Muslim sects.
He condemned the attacks and called for the immediate release of Zakzaky.