A prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky last month was arrested by Nigerian Army. Iran says it is currently using all diplomatic channels to pursue his release.

“We have used all those channels to warn them [Nigeria] regarding this issue.

So hopefully the government… would adopt wise action given the sensitive situation,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hoseyn Jaberi-Ansari told reporters in the capital, Tehran.
Iran is currently embroiled in a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia over the execution of a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Sheikh Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, is inspired by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch said at least 300 IMN members were killed and quickly buried in a mass grave during the incident. The Nigerian military denied the claim.

Facts about Shia in Nigeria

Shia are minority in Nigeria but their numbers are increasing
The IMN, formed in the 1980s, is the main Shia group led by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky
They operate their own schools and hospitals in some northern states
They have a history of clashes with the security forces
The IMN is backed by Shia-dominated Iran and its members often go there to study.

 

 

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