Following violent clash between the Nigerian Army and members of the Shiite Islamist group at the weekend in Zaria, Kaduna State, Iran has called on Nigerian government not to let the current critical situation to get worse.
Iran stated further that Nigeria should endeavour to respect religious figures and sites.
Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Hossein Jaber-Ansari as saying that the Iranian government is also suspecting that Israel may be involved in the crisis.
“Nigeria…is now dealing with problems arising from extremism and Takfiri terrorism and we hope that in these conditions preservation of calm and national unity in battling terrorism is prioritized while rash and unconstructive measures are avoided,” IRNA was quoted as saying.
He expressed sorrow over the recent bloody clashes, which broke out between Muslim worshipers and government troops, weekend.
The report stated that Iranian foreign ministry held different contacts with Nigerian officials, urging them not to let the current critical situation to exacerbate.
The Foreign Ministry urged the Nigerian government to bring to justice those involved in abduction of the Nigerian religious leader.
Jaber Ansari expressed deep regret over the bloody conflicts in the past two days, and called for solidarity and avoiding hasty and unconstructive measures in Nigeria to fight terrorism, and that it is a source of sorrow that the conflicts in Zaria on Sunday and Saturday which resulted in death and injury of a large number of Muslims and worshippers in Zaria.
“Nigeria as an important member-state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC is now facing the problems emanating from extremism and Takfiri terrorism and we hope that under such conditions maintaining tranquillity and national solidarity to fight terrorism to be prioritized and hasty and unconstructive measures to be avoided,” he added.
IRNA also quoted the Deputy Head of Supreme Leader’s Office for International Affairs; Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Qomi as saying that Nigerian government is responsible for the safety of prominent Nigerian Shia leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzakky.
Qomi was said to have made the remarks during a tour of IRNA, where he expressed concern about whereabouts of Nigerian religious leader El-Zakzakky.
He said, “Regretfully, in recent days, we see a suspicious episode taking place in Nigeria and the Israeli regime is likely to be clandestinely involved. Sheikh has been arrested by the state forces. He is alive and not martyred”.
Meanwhile, reports by AFP claimed that the Nigerian troops have evacuated the bodies of the killed Shiite Muslims.
The pro-Iranian Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, whose whereabouts were unknown, and IMN’ spokesman Ibrahim Musa told AFP that, “We have reports that bodies of our members killed outside the house of our leader are being evacuated in trucks by soldiers.
The IMN, which seeks to establish an Islamic state through an Iranian-styled revolution, has been at loggerheads with Nigeria’s secular authorities, leading to occasionally violent confrontations.
The group’s spokesman said the victims of the violence included El-Zakzaky’s wife, son and the former IMN spokesman.
“We can’t give a precise figure of the deaths but it is huge given the number of the members that answered the call to protect the house from the invading soldiers. I can confirm that the wife of our leader Zeenat Ibrahim and her son Ali were among the dead. Our national spokesman Ibrahim Usman was also killed,” he said.
The group’s leader has periodically been incarcerated for alleged incitement and subversion.
“We have been getting conflicting reports with some saying that he has been taken away by soldiers while others are saying that he has been killed,” he said.

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