Nigerian Army Cites Trump In Its Defense Of Killing Protesters

Pauline Gross
November 4, 2018

Nigeria's military is facing criticism after sending out a tweet that appeared to use President Trump's comments as justification for shooting and killing protesters in the West African nation.

In the video, Trump said the United States government will not tolerate anyone who throws a rock at the military as soldiers will "consider that a firearm" because "there's not much difference". "They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back", said Trump in remarks made on Thursday.

The post which has been deleted from the Twitter handle of the army where it was shared, asked Nigerians to "make your deductions" from the comment.

On Monday, Nigerian soldiers shot at Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) supporters when they were marching the streets of Abuja, the country's capital as part of days of protest during which 400 Shia Muslims have been arrested.

The Nigerian Army had opened fire on Shi'a protesters during their annual religious trek, which led to the death of more than 40 members of the sect. The Nigerian military claims six people were killed.

Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the United Nations, called it "sickening".

Soldiers had on Monday fired on a march of about 1,000 Islamic Shiite activists who had blocked traffic on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja.

Agim said if David could kill Goliath with a stone, stones should be considered as weapons.

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"Video footage and eyewitness testimonies consistently show that the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gatherings by firing live ammunition without warning, in clear violation of Nigerian and worldwide law", said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty global Nigeria.

"But I will tell you this, "he continued, "anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico - the Mexican military, Mexican police - where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm, because there's not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock".

"It seems the Nigerian military are deliberately using tactics created to kill when dealing with IMN gatherings".

"Our soldiers sustained injuries", he added.

"We intervened only because the IMN members are trying to harm our people, they are always meeting us.at security check points and trying to provoke us, they even burned a police vehicle".

The US is a close partner of Nigeria's government, but has historically been cautious when it comes to security collaboration between the countries, given the Nigerian military's long history of abuse and the absence of meaningful accountability.

"Not only did they use stones but they were carrying petrol bombs, machetes and knives, so yes, we consider them as being armed", said Agim.

"Rocks are not equal to bullets", he said. Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group, labels Shia as "heretics" and demands that they be killed.

Other reports by GizPress

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