Nigerian army cites Trump's comments to justify shooting protesters

The Nigerian army on Friday justified its killing of rock-throwing protesters earlier this week by citing recent comments from President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE.

The country's army, part of a military which has been widely criticized for human rights abuses, shared a clip of Trump's speech from Thursday, when he said the U.S. military might fire on migrants near the U.S. border if they provoke violence by throwing rocks.

“Please Watch and Make Your Deductions,” the Nigerian army wrote on Twitter in a since-deleted tweet.

Trump on Friday walked back his comments from the previous day, saying instead that migrants would be arrested but not fired on if they're throwing rocks at the U.S. border.


“They won’t have to fire," Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to U.S. soldiers. "What I don’t want is I don’t want these people throwing rocks.”

On Monday, Nigerian soldiers fired at 1,000 Shiite Muslim protesters who had been blocking traffic in the capital, Abuja. Videos showed some protesters throwing rocks at soldiers, who responded with gunfire.

Nigeria's military said three protesters were killed. Amnesty International said 45 people were killed at the march and two smaller ones.

A Reuters article cited protesters who said 18 people died.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria organized the protest. The group seeks the release of its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been detained since 2015, according to Pulse NG.

John Agim, a spokesperson for Nigeria's military, said the army posted the video in response to Amnesty International's report.

“We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?” he said, according to The New York Times. “What are they then saying? What did David use to kill Goliath? So a stone is a weapon.”

“Our soldiers sustained injuries,” he told the Times. “The Shiites even burnt one of our vehicles so what are Amnesty International saying?”

The White House did not provide a comment on the Nigerian army's tweet. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the U.S. contacted Nigeria about the tweet.

Updated at 3:18 p.m.