By Abdullateef Salau
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has condemned media reports that Northern Nigeria has become the latest battleground in the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, after violent clashes between supporters of rival groups from the two main branches of Islam.
The French new agency, AFP had reported that members of the Izala movement, backed by mainly Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, last month attacked the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), which is sympathetic to Shiite majority Iran.
“IMN ceremonies in at least four northern cities to mark the annual Shiite day of mourning, Ashura, were targeted, with the worst riots in Kaduna, an Izala stronghold. At least two IMN supporters were killed,” AFP reported.
The clashes, it said, indicate that the proxy Saudi-Iran conflict well-known in places such as Lebanon, Yemen and Syria — is now being played out in Nigeria.
But a statement from the Saudi Embassy in Abuja said the kingdom faulted the “News that was stated in that report.”
The embassy, according to the statement, expressed disappointment over “important” websites transmitting the false information, which it said were obtained from unreliable sources.
It said the government of Saudi Arabia always stands with Nigeria in its efforts to root out terrorism out of the country.
“The embassy would like to confirm that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not meddle into the internal affairs of countries.
“The kingdom is keen about the peace and stability of Nigeria based on the distinguished fraternal relationship which exist between our two sisterly countries, and always standing side by side (in one row) to combat all forms and dimensions of terrorism,” the statement said.