Monday, November 5, 2018

Trump's words used to defend killing of protesters by military in Nigeria

The Nigerian army appears to have used the words of President Trump to justify the killing of Islamic protesters.

On Friday (Nov. 2), the Nigerian army's official Twitter account tweeted a snippet of Trump's Thursday (Nov. 1) speech on immigration where he stated that the U.S. military should consider migrants throwing rocks as they would a rifle. The Nigerian army then went on to explain that they released the video to say "if President Trump can say rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?"

This came in response to growing scrutiny from human rights organizations, like Amnesty International, who've criticized the Nigerian government for its "horrific use of excessive force" when dealing with Muslim protestors. Days prior to the tweet, the Nigerian army fired bullets and tear gas into a crowd of Shai Muslims killing six protestors. This is not the first time conflicts between demonstrators — who routinely take to the streets to protest the imprisonment of Islamic Movement of Nigeria leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky — and armed forces have turned deadly.

"This violent crackdown on IMN protesters is unjustified and unacceptable," Amnesty International Nigerian Country Director, Osai Ojigho, said of the attacks. "They were perfectly within their rights to hold a religious procession and protest and there was no evidence they posed an imminent threat to life."

However, Trump is popular in Nigeria's Christian population for his talks against Islamic extremism. Using his controversial speech to justify their persecution of the IMN may help further sway the Nigerian popular opinion and invalidate the authority of Amnesty International.

The White House has yet to issue a response to the use of the president's comments.

Nigeria arrests 400 Shia Muslims after deadly clashes

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