The firefight between the Nigerian Army and members of the Shiite sect, in Zaria, Kaduna seems to have drawn the attention and concerns of not only well-meaning Nigerians but also that of the international body. Days after the Saturday clash, the US president, Barrack Obama has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately look into what transpired between the two bodies.
In a statement issued through its Embassy in Abuja on Wednesday, the United States government expressed deep concerned about the clash, especially as it resulted in the loss of several civilian lives.
The statement reads:
The United States is deeply concerned by reports of violent clashes between members of the Nigerian Army and the Shiite group Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State over the past several days.
While many details of the incidents that reportedly began on December 12 remain unclear, we are dismayed to learn of multiple civilian deaths. It is essential that all sides refrain from actions that further destabilize the situation.
The United States calls on the Government of Nigeria to quickly, credibly, and transparently investigate these events in Zaria and hold to account any individuals found to have committed crimes.
The resultant effect of the clash has since attracted international condemnation, with the likes of the Iranian government condemning the killing of the Shi’ite sect members by the army and seeking Nigeria’s “prompt and serious”action on the matter. Report has it that the Iranian representative in Nigeria has been summoned home for a briefing on the matter.
Though there have been conflicting reports on the death toll, about 60- 100 Shiite members were allegedly killed during the firefight.
The clashes have since its occurrence triggered several other protests in Nigeria’s restive north and even abroad–with India and Iran showing solidarity for the Shiite brethren in Nigeria.
From the video clip which has been going viral, the army had accused the Movement of attempting to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, when members of the sect, who were conducting an annual ritual to usher in the month of Maulud, the birth month of the Prophet Mohammed, blocked the convoy of the army chief in Zaria.
Meanwhile, governors of the Nineteen northern States under the auspices of the Northern States Governors’ Forum have summoned an emergency meeting to discuss and possibly resolve the clash between the two bodies.