Nigeria's army cites Trump to justify shooting Shia protesters


Nigeria's army on Friday posted a video of US President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones to justify opening fire on a Shiite group this week.

"We're not going to put up with that", Mr. Trump said in the clip. "I told them, consider it a rifle". Days later, the Nigerian Army tweeted Trump's comments about firing at migrants to justify its own shooting of protesters days earlier.

Amnesty International has criticised Nigeria's army for the killings, saying the Shia protesters were peaceful.

While the IMN claimed 49 of its members were killed after troops and policemen opened fire on them, the army said only three died and that the soldiers responded because the protesters pelted them with stones and some of them even carried petrol bombs, matchetes and knives.

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 U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria issued a statement Thursday expressing concern about the "deaths resulting from clashes between Nigerian security forces and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria".

The Nigerian Army, meanwhile, seized on Trump's words.

The Nigerian military has said as many as six soldiers were wounded during the protest after "thousands" of members of the sect overran a police checkpoint and blocked traffic along a highway.

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The army's official Twitter handle shared a video by United States president Donald Trump.

We are going to consider, and I told them to consider it a rifle.

But only hours later, the Nigerian army tweeted out Trump's remarks the same day.

On Friday, John Agim, a spokesman for the Nigerian army, said the posting of the video was a response to Amnesty International, which had criticized what it called the military's use of excessive force.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP Sunday in Sokoto, state leader of IMN, Sheikh Sidi Manir, said they have been practicing their religion in Nigeria for over 40 years now without interference, hence, he wondered what is now their crime that the government is consistently against them.

The Nigerian Army later deleted the tweet, but not before various news outlets and USA officials had seen it.

Soldiers had arrived to assist police, a news release said, and were met with protesters who threw canisters of fuel, "large stones, catapults with risky objects and other unsafe items".

In response to the Nigerian Army's since-deleted tweet, Osai Ojigho of Amnesty International Nigeria said the West African nation's government "must hold its security forces accountable" rather than engage in "preposterous competition over who does a better job of violating human rights".