Nigerian Army uses Trump video to justify shooting, killing Shiite protesters
The Army has cited an unlikely inspiration to apparently justify the recent killings of some Shia Muslims.
In clashes that happened on two different days over the past week, the Army admitted that soliders killed six members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also called Shiites. The group claimed that around 50 people were actually killed in attacks that were carried out by the Army and Police.
In the wake of the killings, the Army had announced that soldiers only shot at the protesters after they attacked troops with stones while transporting ammunitions in the Federal Capital Territory.
The killings have been largely condemned by many Nigerians and local and international human rights groups who protested that soldiers should not have employed lethal methods to deal with the protesters.
However, in an apparent bid to defend itself against the accusations, the Army took to its official Twitter account to post a video of Trump endorsing lethal methods under similar circumstances that the US Army might be about to face.
Trump had recently deployed US troops to the border it shares with Mexico in a bid to stop thousands of Central American migrants from gaining entrance into the North African country.
In the video posted by the Nigerian Army captioned "Please Watch and Make your Deductions", Trump suggested that migrants who throw stones at troops should be shot in response.
He said, "I'll tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rocks like they did in Mexico and badly-hurt police and soldiers, we'll consider that a firearm because there's not much difference.
"They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We're going to consider, I told them to consider it a rifle."
While defending why the Army posted the video, the Director, Defence Information, John Agim, told AFP, "The video was posted in reaction to the Amnesty International report accusing the army of using weapons against pacifist Shiite protesters."
Despite what might be considered Trump's endorsement of the actions of the Nigerian Army, the US Embassy in Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to conduct an investigation into the killings.
The Army deleted the Trump video from its Twitter account after backlash from the local and international community.
(Below is a similar video of Trump making the remarks).
Shiites vs Nigerian Army
400 IMN members were arrested by officers of the Nigeria Police Force for disturbance of public peace and law and order in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. They were alleged to have set a Police vehicle on fire, and arrested with 31 bottles of petrol bombs and other dangerous weapons.
The group has been agitating relentlessly for the release of its spiritual leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was arrested in Zaria, Kaduna in 2015 after soldiers killed over 300 members of the sect for allegedly throwing stones at the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, an act declared by the Army to be an assassination attempt.
In the violence that escalated, troops attacked the group's shrines, firebombed its religious center, the Husseiniyya, destroyed another religious center on the outskirts of the city, and firebombed and demolished El-Zakzaky's home.
During the invasion of his home, El-Zakzaky was arrested and imprisoned with his wife, Zeenah, without any official court charges.
He was eventually arraigned before a Kaduna High Court in May 2018 and charged with unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.
The culpable homicide is in relation to the death of Corporal Yakubu Dankaduna, a soldier who was allegedly killed by IMN members when he alighted from Buratai's convoy to disperse the group's procession in December 2015.
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