Published: Sun, November 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

United States congressman blames Trump over killing of Shiite protesters

United States congressman blames Trump over killing of Shiite protesters

Nigeria's main Shiite Muslim movement says the army killed at least 50 of its members who were protesting this week.

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.

Along with the clip, the Nigerian army posted the caption: "Please watch and make your deductions". Amnesty International says that the protesters were peaceful and that 45 of them were killed, while the Nigerian military maintains that the demonstrators were armed and only six people died.

"The Shia people always obstruct the work we're doing", he added, saying they had blocked an arms convoy at the weekend and overrun a checkpoint on Monday.

One day later, Trump said he didn't mean the troops would shoot the rock-throwers.

The army has come under fire for the death of Shiites in the Abuja protest.

Trump's language undermines the efforts of U.S. diplomats on the frontlines, contributes to the unraveling of progress on human rights concerns in Nigeria, and deeply damages the overarching credibility of the United States.

"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". "So, a stone is a weapon", he said. If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back.

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The video of Trump speaking, Nigerian defense spokesperson John Agim told AFP, "was posted in reaction to the Amnesty International report accusing the army of using weapons against pacifist [Shia] protesters".

Earlier this week, Amnesty International reported that Nigerian soldiers killed more than 40 protesters in the Islamic Movement of Nigeria while they were peacefully demonstrating against the imprisonment of their leader Ibrahim Zakzaky.

Amnesty International has tasked the Federal Government to hold security forces accountable for the killing of Shiites during their annual "Arbaeen Symbolic Trek".

The United States embassy in Nigeria said Thursday it was "concerned" and called for an investigation.

But that did not stop the army from pointing to Trump's comments about Central American migrants and refugees as justification. "The use of force is disproportionate".

Nigeria's military and police forces are accused of killing dozens of Muslim protesters and arresting hundreds of others, the BBC reports.

"Video footage and eyewitness testimonies consistently show that the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gatherings by firing live ammunition without warning, in clear violation of Nigerian and global law", said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty worldwide Nigeria.

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