Iran condemns attacks against Ashura mourners in Nigeria, Afghanistan
Iran has condemned an attack by Nigerian forces against mourners commemorating Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia imam.
At least 11 people were killed and several others injured when Nigerian forces opened fire at Shia mourners in the cities of Kaduna and Funtua on Wednesday.
According to the Press TV correspondent, troops fired tear gas and live bullets at the mourners in the two cities.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the attack and underlined the need for the perpetrators of the crime to be brought to justice.
“The violent and brutal measures by extremists and Wahhabi-affiliated forces against Shias and mourners of Imam Hussein have to be stopped, and perpetrators of such acts need to be immediately arrested and brought to justice,” Qassemi said.
The Iranian official pointed to reported negligence of duty by the police forces to control the situation, and reminded the Nigerian government of its responsibility to ensure the safety of mourners attending such religious processions.
During the clashes between mourners and Nigerian forces, a house belonging to prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky was also set alight in Kaduna.
The clashes came as tensions are already running high between the regime and Nigeria’s Shia Muslims who have been demanding the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, who was arrested last December after his house was raided following deadly clashes that left hundreds of Shias dead.
‘Afghanistan attack reveals grudge against Muslims’
The Iranian official also condemned the deadly attacks against worshippers and mourners in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, which killed over two dozen people.
“The massacre of defenseless mourners in Afghanistan reveals the insatiable grudge of terrorists and their supporters against the unity of the Islamic Ummah,” Qassemi said, calling on all international and regional players to seriously counter terrorism.
On Wednesday, at least 14 Afghan civilians were killed in a bomb blast outside a mosque in northern Balkh province.
The attack in Balkh, which targeted a group of Shias following ceremonies commemorating Ashura, came a day after a deadly gun attack on Shia worshippers at a shrine in the capital, Kabul, claimed the lives of 14 people.
The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the mass shooting in Kabul.