Middle East Institute on Thursday said sources close to Hezbollah have confirmed that the Labanese organization is currently providing ideological and military training to Nigerian Shiites inside Lebanon.
“Tall men, in long, traditional African garb specific to northern Nigeria are sometimes spotted in Dahieh, a predominantly Shiite suburb south of Beirut where Hezbollah runs a cultural center,” MEI quoted a source as saying.
“The training is limited to a few number of people but it is growing steadily.
“The Shiite Nigerians initially receive a religious training before a military one that is provided in two camps in the Lebanese Bekaa.
“Iran has told Hezbollah that it needed to recruit and train Nigerians to establish a stronghold there so that it could serve as an operational base for the rest of Africa, mainly to thwart Israeli and western ambitions in the region”.
The source added that the current training program in Lebanon for Nigerian Shiites is limited in scope, at least for now.
“The training that is taking place now in Lebanon is mostly focusing on higher-ranking officers in commanding positions, who can in turn train new recruits in Nigeria, which is why the number of trainees remains limited.
“These trainees also generally return to Lebanon every three to six months to receive further training on more sophisticated weapons”
The detained leader of outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, a Sunni demagogue hailing from the town of Zaria, was initially inspired by Muslim Brotherhood’s chief ideologue Sayyed Qutb.
But he later converted to Shiite Islam and became a flag-bearer for Iran’s revolution in his native country.
The army had accused the Shiite group of attempting to kill Nigeria’s army chief-of-staff, a charge the movement denied.