Nigerian army posts Trump video to justify deadly fire

Nigerian army points to Trump's recent comments on rock-throwers to justify deadly attack on Shia protesters.

    Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria chant slogans during a march to demand the release of their Nigerian Shia leader Ibrahim Zakzaky [Paul Carsten/Reuters]
    Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria chant slogans during a march to demand the release of their Nigerian Shia leader Ibrahim Zakzaky [Paul Carsten/Reuters]

    The Nigerian army cited comments by US President Donald Trump to justify opening fire on Shia protesters earlier this week.

    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.

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    "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.

    'Live ammunition without warning' 

    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.

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    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. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News