In the wake of the deadly violence earlier this week, the US embassy in Abuja urged the Nigerian government to “conduct a thorough investigation of the events and to take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for violations of Nigerian law”.
But that did not stop the army from pointing to Trump’s comments about Central American migrants and refugees as justification.
The army’s official Twitter account shared a video of Trump suggesting that US soldiers could respond with force to migrants who throw rocks on the US border. “When they throw rocks … consider it as a rifle,” Trump said in the video.
“They want to throw rocks at our military, [then] our military fights back,” he continued.
Along with the clip, the Nigerian army posted the caption: “Please watch and make your deductions.”
The post has since been deleted.
Speaking to the BBC, Nigeria Army spokesman Brigadier General John Agim said they posted the video in response to Amnesty International’s criticism of the army’s deadly attacks on Shia protesters.
Sickening. Under scrutiny from human rights orgs for firing on a crowd of protesters, the Nigerian Army tweets Trump from yesterday telling US troops that any migrants throwing rocks should be handled as if they are armed with “a rifle” 1/2 pic.twitter.com/2udS9fgAhm
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) November 2, 2018
Amnesty International estimates that 45 peaceful demonstrators were killed during that melee, while the Nigerian army insists that only six armed protesters were killed.
“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 international law,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
Trump’s comments were the latest in a series of attacks on the US-bound caravan of refugees and migrants.
Fleeing violence, including political persecution, and economic devastation, the caravan is still far away from the US border and deep inside Mexican territory.
Critics have accused Trump of using the caravan for fearmongering and escalating his anti-immigrant rhetoric to rally voters behind the Republican Party in advance of Tuesday’s midterm elections, which is considered by many to be a referendum on the president’s first two years in office.