Iran summons Nigerian envoy

December 16, 2015

TEHRAN - Iran has summoned the Nigerian charge d’affaires in Tehran to protest against the deadly clashes between Shia Muslims in the country’s north and the army.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the violence between the military and followers of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) “unacceptable”.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif had earlier contacted his Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama to express his “deep concern” about Saturday’s events in the city of Zaria.

Sources said at least 12 people were killed, with both sides blaming each other.

The Nigerian military said one of its convoys was attacked by followers of Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of the IMN.

Reports said initial clashes were followed by an army raid on Zakzaky’s home, which left several of his followers dead.

Nigeria’s Muslim population is largely Sunni but the number of Shia Muslims has increased significantly in the past three decades.

Nigeria’s main Shia Muslim sect said on Monday the wife and son of its leader were killed in clashes with the military in the northern Kaduna state.

The deputy director of international affairs at the Iranian Supreme Leader’s office said the same day that the security of Zakzaky is a responsibility of Nigerian officials.

Mohsen Qomi said it seems that recent incidents which happened to Zakzaky are led by Israel.

According to reports, at least 60 people were killed this past weekend when the Nigerian army raided the Islamic Movement headquarters and arrested Zakzaky in Zaria.

On Sunday, the army raided several buildings connected to the movement and the home of Zakzaky. They arrested him and killed key members of the group, including Zakzaky’s second-in-command and spokesman.

Aliy, Zakzaky’s son, was among dozens killed during a raid.

Three of Mr. Zakzaky’s sons had been killed in a similar attack by the Nigerian Army in July 2014.

The Islamic Movement insists its members did not attack the convoy of the Chief of Army staff, Tukur Buratai, as alleged by the Nigerian Army.