TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned deadly attacks on Shiite Muslims attending religious mourning processions in Nigeria, stressing the Nigerian government’s responsibility to ensure security for people.
Following Wednesday’s attacks on Shiite mourners in Nigeria’s cities of Kaduna and Funtua, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi called for efforts to end “cruel and violent acts by extremist and Wahhabi-affiliated forces that are, unfortunately, either supported or ignored by the Nigerian police.”
He underscored the need for the perpetrators of the bloody shootings to be immediately arrested and brought to justice.
Qassemi also highlighted the Abuja government’s responsibility for protection of Shiite mourners and ensuring security of the religious rites.
At least nine Shiite mourners were killed in Kaduna and Futuna on Wednesday after troops opened fire on them at Ashura processions, an event marking the anniversary of martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.
Tensions have been running high between the regime and Nigeria’s Shiite Muslims who have been demanding the release of prominent cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky from prison.
The confrontation follows a spate of arrests over recent days of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, the mainstream Shiite group led by Sheikh Zakzaky.
The government has imposed a ban to prevent the movement’s supporters from attending ceremonies marking the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS).