‘I kept telling myself, my people are in danger, they need me’
Ako Abdulrahman was in Kirkuk on Oct. 21 when snipers attacked the oil-rich city. The 32-year-old man from Taza Khurmatou quickly realized that an armored vehicle he purchased at an auction for $10,000 would be the only hope for shuttling victims to safety — so he went to work.
“I told myself, this is the right time to help people, this is the right moment to do it. I am a [Peshmerga] fighter and I have a bulletproof car, shame on me if I can’t help,” Mr. Abdulrahman said of his decision to drive into a hail of bullets, CNN reported Monday. “When I arrived at the scene, I saw many people on the ground, civilians and security forces and no one could dare to come close because of ISIS snipers and random shooting.”
The Iraqi man said he never bothered to consider the religion or ethnicity of the people he saved — just that they were his people in need.
“In my car, I carried Sunni, Shiite, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians,” he added. “I felt like I am truly Iraq and this is who everyone should be. My car received more than 50 bullets, [there are] marks all over it. ISIS kept shooting, hoping to penetrate my car to kill me and kill the wounded people inside it.”
Security forces eventually overwhelmed and killed 86 terrorists, but not before 64 civilians died.
Kirkuk governor Dr. Najmaldin Karim personally thanked Mr. Abdulrahman and gave him $385 for his heroics.
“I was happy with the certificate of appreciation from the governor, but I thought it’s insulting to give me money for something every Iraqi should do,” Mr. Abdulrahman added, CNN reported.
BMW showed interest in obtaining the famous vehicle, but the man said he turned down their offers for a replacement.
“I am not a hero, I am only an ordinary Iraqi who wants to [defend] his country from criminals and killers,” he said.