THE Nigerian Army has shared a video of the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, urging the country’s military to ‘open fire’ if protesters throw stones at them.
Trump’s directive to the US military was broadcast live on television, but the Nigerian army shared it via its Twitter handle, perhaps as a justification for a similar scenario that occurred in various parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recently.
Several people were killed when security operatives, including soldiers and policemen, shot at protesting Shiite Muslims in Abuja between Saturday, October 27 and Tuesday, October 30, 2018. Videos of the clash which was all over the social media, showed the protesters hauling rocks at the security operatives, who returned the assault by opening fire on them.
In total, the Nigerian Authorities said six people were killed and many others, including security personnel, sustained various degrees of injuries. But many other reports, including one by Amnesty International, put the number of casualties as high as 45.
In the video which was shared on the Nigerian army’s Twitter handle, Trump urged the military to treat stone-wielding protesters as though they were carrying rifles.
“I will tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military and Mexican police, with the badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm,” Trump said.
“Because there’s not much difference when you got hit in the face with a rock, which, as you know, it was very violent a few days ago. Very, very violent.
“Because they’re throwing rocks violently and viciously, you saw that three days ago, really hurting the military. We’re not going to put up with that.
“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We’re going to consider, and I told them, consider it a rifle.
“When they throw rocks, as they did at the Mexico military and police, consider it a rifle.”
Please Watch and Make your Deductions. pic.twitter.com/05yVwULFoh
— Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) November 2, 2018
The Nigerian Army has been criticised by many local and international human rights groups for using excessive force on the protesters, leading to several deaths and injuries. But by sharing Trump’s comments about a similar incident, the army appears to be trying to justify its actions.
Meanwhile, a message being circulated on the social media, especially on Whatsapp, an instant messaging mobile application, is asking residents of Abuja to be cautious as there could be another round of protest by the Shiite group.
“There are indications that the IMN (Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shiites) is planning to converge at Sky Memorial Complex, Berger, Abuja and thereafter continue with its protest to demand the release of detained leader, Shiek El Zakzaky,” the message read.
“The potential for confrontation with security forces is high given the resolve by the latter to prevent the protest as we have seen over the past five days.
“Further reports indicate that the IMN members vow to continue protest at one of the Jumaat Mosque after Friday prayers.”
The ICIR cannot independently authenticate the message.