Nigerian army cites Trump speech before killing dozens of protesters

Nigeria Army tweets Trump video to justify armed protest clampdown

Nigeria Army tweets Trump video to justify armed protest clampdown

Amnesty International had said on Wednesday, October 31, that it had strong evidence that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people in an "unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police". A Reuters reporter counted 20 bodies at the main march.

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 Army has previously tweeted photos of wounded soldiers who suffered from rock pelting religious protesters seeking the release of their detained leader.

Early Friday, the military responded to the criticism.

In a since deleted tweet, the Nigerian Army shared a video of a recent speech from Donald Trump, in which he touted anti-immigration messages, stating unequivocally that rocks thrown at military personnel at the USA border would be considered firearms. "We're going to consider it, I told them, consider it a rifle".

Mr. Trump made the remarks at the White House Thursday, saying of the migrants, "They want to throw rocks at our military - our military fights back".

But a spokesman for the Nigerian army says their decision to fire live rounds at protesters in Abuja was justified because they were armed, telling the BBC "this is what [Mr] Trump was talking about".

Trump also referred to unspecified African countries as "shithole countries".

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In the wake of the deadly violence earlier this week, the U.S. 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".

"We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?"

"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. So a stone is a weapon".

"Our soldiers sustained injuries". "The Shiites even burnt one of our vehicles so what are Amnesty International saying?"

According to court documents seen by AFP, the IMN members had been ordered to disperse but they "refused and started throwing stones at the police officers and other members of the public and thereby caused them bodily harm".

Brig Agim said it was "not true that they were protesters", and described them as "the aggressors". "They knew it was there". His recent inflammatory statements, made days before the USA midterm elections, have clearly been seized upon by some in the Nigerian military as an abusive new standard to which they would like to adhere.

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