The media in the Islamic Republic of Iran is reporting that President Hassan Rouhani has called up Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari over the military onslaught on the Shi’ite Movement of Nigeria last weekend which led to several casualties.
Although the Nigerian military is claiming that only seven people died, the real number is believed to be in the hundreds.
The Iranian President reportedly told Pres. Buhari that “minor disputes must not be allowed to turn into deep differences”.
The phone call follows an earlier summon of the Nigerian ambassador in Tehran by the Iranian government to protest against the crackdown.
On Tuesday, a federal government delegation led by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, visited Kaduna where they saw the extent of destruction for themselves. Others in the delegation include the inspector general of Police and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The crackdown on the Shi’ite sect occurred after members of the sect reportedly prevented the Chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, from passing through a road block during his visit to Zaria on Saturday. The Army claimed that the sect made an attempt on the life of the army chief.
The army now says that the reverred leader of the sect, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, is in their protective custody alongside his wife. A photo of Zakzaky bound and injured surfaced on Tuesday on the Internet, raising fears about his true condition.
Nigerians fear that any harm done to Zakzaky could lead to a radicalisation of the sect. Already, one son of the leader has been reported killed in the latest military onslaught, while two others were murdered by soldiers last year.