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January 3, 2024

Shi’ites burn US, Israeli flags in Abuja over alleged killing of ‘martyrs’

Shi'ites burn US, Israeli flags in Abuja over alleged killing of 'martyrs'

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

Hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, took to the streets of Abuja on Wednesday to protest the assassination of Iranian military officer Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi military leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis by the United States. 

The demonstration marked the anniversary of the killings, which occurred on January 3, 2020, under the order of former US President Donald Trump.

The protesters, comprising men and women, marched through major streets in the nation’s capital, causing significant traffic disruptions.

In a potent display of anger, the Shi’ites burned the flags of the United States and Israel, symbolizing their disdain for the countries they hold responsible for the deaths of Soleimani and al-Muhandis, who they described as ‘global martyrs’. 

Sheikh Sidi Munir Mainasara, speaking for the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, declared, “We are out on the street today to commemorate the martyrdom of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and we will continue to honor them annually.” 

He emphasized that the annual demonstrations serve as a reminder of the duo’s contributions to peace and security in the region.

During the demonstration, protesters recounted how Soleimani had played a pivotal role in the Middle East, particularly in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 

Soleimani was lauded for mobilizing the Iraqi and Syrian people, creating national armies, and thwarting the advance of ISIS forces on numerous fronts, including the liberation of Tikrit and areas of Damascus.

The assassination of Soleimani and al-Muhandis has been widely criticized by multiple nations and figures. 

Following the incident, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif labeled the act “international terrorism” and cautioned against its repercussions. The sentiment was echoed in the international community, with countries like China, Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey condemning the US action.

US Senator Mark Kirk had once remarked on Soleimani’s pervasive influence, and European publications like Der Spiegel acknowledged his strategic prowess against US operations in the region. The New York Times even referred to his assassination as a strategic defeat for the United States.

The Shi’ite protesters in Abuja echoed these sentiments, with the general consensus being that Soleimani’s death not only highlighted his importance but also exposed America’s role in regional instability. 

The demonstration in Abuja stands as a testament to the ongoing tensions and the complexity of international relations.