The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) or Shiites “has strongly condemned the provocative airstrike” ordered by United States President Donald Trump.
The airstrike led to the death of Iranian top General and Guards Commander, Quaseem Soleimani and Iraqi Commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif sharply criticized the US for killing Soleimani, calling it "extremely dangerous" and a "foolish escalation."
"The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism," the minister said on Twitter in one of the early official responses; as Iranians woke to the news that the notorious commander of the infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force is dead.
Soleimani was a respected figure in Iran who led the elite Quds Force for over two decades and reported only to Iran's supreme leader.
The Shia sect in Nigeria, led by the jailed Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, pledges allegiance to Iran.
The Shiite Nigeria statement
In a statement sent to Pulse and signed by its spokesperson Ibrahim Musa, IMN said it “received the very sad news of the killing of Soleimani. We strongly condemn this provocative air strike ordered by President Trump."
It added that the US killing of Soleimani is a "declaration of war on Iran, which has now dangerously made the world on the edge of a very destructive war. For quite some time now, President Trump has been looking for ways to drag the Iranian nation to a senseless war.
“However the US killers, God willing, will not be able to achieve any of their goals with this great crime. Rather, all of Hajj Qassem’s goals will be accomplished by the greatness of his soul and blood. This will be accomplished by his brothers, children, and students from resistance men and mujahideen from all the peoples of the world that reject humiliation and submission to the tyrants of this century.
“Indeed Hajj Soleimani will forever be remembered because he led the destruction of the murderous ISIS terrorism that the genocidal US regime created, trained, armed and sustained. He was an enigmatic General who led from the front lines, and was an active supporter of the Palestinian freedom cause. He was an ardent anti-imperialist who gave the United States of America and their stooges in the region sleepless nights both in terms of ideas, and more importantly at the battle fronts that they prompted.
“The Islamic Movement sends condolences to both the leaders and peoples of Iran and Iraq for these colossal losses, and shares their grief at this trying moment. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Imam of our time Imam Mahdi (ATFS), the supreme leader Imam Khamenei and Ayatollah Sayyed Sistani for the Martyrdom of Hajj Qasim Soleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi AlMohandis and all the Martyrs. Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon.”
US defends the killings
The US Department of Defense announced that the US military, acting on the orders of President Trump, "has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani."
The US said that Soleimani was directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US service members over the years, as well as more recent attacks on US personnel.
The Pentagon said that the general was planning additional attacks that threatened US personnel and interests in the region.
Iran vows to revenge
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has vowed “harsh revenge” against the United States for the killing of Soleimani.
“His pure blood was shed in the hands of the most depraved of human beings,” Khamenei said in a statement.
“His departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands.”