Iran condemns attack on Shiite Muslims in Nigeria

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned deadly attacks on Shiite Muslims attending religious mourning processions in Nigeria, stressing the Nigerian government’s responsibility is to ensure security for people.
The condemnation by Iran came as the Kano State Police Command yesterday arraigned 78 members of the Muslim group arrested during the procession in the state before a Chief Magistrate Court in the city for conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.
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.”
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He underscored the need for the perpetrators of the bloody shootings to be immediately arrested and brought to justice.
Qassemi, according to the Iranian news agency, Tasnin, 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 their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky from prison.
The confrontation followsed a spate of arrests over recent days of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), the mainstream Shiite group led by Zakzaky.
The government has imposed a ban to prevent the movement’s supporters from attending ceremonies marking the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS).
Meanwhile, the 78 Shiite members were charged with criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, disturbance and inciting public peace.
The prosecution counsel, Sunday Ekwe, told the court that all the accused persons committed the offence on October 12, at about 1p.m.
He said the offence contravened sections 97, 102,113 and 114 of the Penal Code.
Ekwe said all the 78 Shiite members criminally conspired and unlawfully assembled themselves and blocked Ibrahim Taiwo Road up to Kofar Mata to Emir palace.
“The accused persons unlawfully restrained members of the public from having access to the road and their places of business, a conduct that disturbed and causeed breach of public peace.”
Among those arraigned were Hauwa’u Aminu, Aisha Aminu, Zahra’u Zubairu, Dahira Abdulrahman, Aisha Musa, Lawal Idris and others.
Counsel to all the accused persons, Haruna Magashi, filed a bail application on behalf of all the accused persons.
Magashi said most of the accused persons are nursing mothers and have family members at home to cater for.
However, all the accused persons denied the content of the First Information Report (FIR).
The Chief Magistrate, Muhammad Idris, granted bail them in the sum of N100,000 and two reliable sureties each.
Idris said one of the surety must be a village head or ward head of where the accused persons reside.
The magistrate said both the accused and surety should deposit two recent passport photographs and their houses should be identified by the police.
The case was adjourned to November 7 for further mention.
However, IMN has accused the Kaduna State Government of committing acts of arson, butchery, murder and arbitrary arrest of its members.
The group alleged that governments of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States, using an amalgamation of security agents and operatives turned Wednesday from what could have been a peaceful day for commemorating the martyrdom anniversary of the benevolent grandson of the Prophet, into another mourning day.
The President of IMN Media Forum, Mr. Ibrahim Musa, in a statement yesterday, claimed the security operatives unleashed on their members the worst forms of state-sponsored terror tactics ever known, through a well-designed plot involving arson, butchery, murder and unwarranted arrests of IMN members in their states.
Musa said the pattern was uniform in all the places and not an isolated coincidence.
For most part, he stated: “The annual Ashura procession that we have conducted peacefully over the years had concluded without an incidence. Suddenly, a combined team of well-armed police, military, civil defence and other security operatives camouflaged as thugs (they are though) laid ambush on IMN members.”
He said: “Using all weapons at their disposal, they maimed, killed and arrested many in Funtua, Sokoto, Kaduna and Jos in particular. This savagery was followed by arson, particularly in Kaduna and Jos, where Islamic centres, schools and private residences were torched. As at the last count, not less than 20 members were murdered, over a hundred injured and over 300 arrested across these towns.
“Everything about this latest brutality suggests that it was planned centrally but carried out locally. The pattern of attacks was the same. The tactics were the same. Even those so-called arrested had the same terms of bail, which they had made near impossible to meet. The silence of both the governments at state and federal levels at the degree of brutality is telling.
“We will not be distracted in abandoning our quest for justice to be done in the premeditated attack carried out by the Military against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria,” Musa stated.
He once again, called, “for the immediate release of our revered Leader Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky from the illegal detention has been thrown into for the past ten months, including all those incarcerated with him.”
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