U.S. congressman blames Trump over killing of Shiite protesters

Army ‘justifies’ killing of Shi’ites with Trump’s ‘consider stones as rifles’ comment

The Nigerian Army has used President Donald Trump's own words about the use of force against migrants throwing stones to justify shooting at Shia Muslim protesters.

The army had earlier on Friday posted a video clip of Trump's directive to his country's military where he said they should consider stones thrown at them by asylum-seeking migrants as rifles.

"What I don't want is - I don't want these people throwing rocks", the president said, adding that if migrants throw rocks at troops there are "going to be problems". "I told them, consider it a rifle". On Friday, the Nigerian army took to Twitter to defend its decision to open fire at Shiite protesters in the capital, Abuja - by citing Trump.

"Both the U.S. and the Nigerian governments must abide by global human rights law and standards".

The Nigerian director of defense, Brigade General John Agim, told the BBC the tweet was in reaction to Amnesty International's damning investigation, released on October 31, that found "excessive force" by soldiers and police led to the killing of at least 45 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) over two days.

Soldiers had on Monday fired on a march of about 1,000 Islamic Shiite activists who had blocked traffic on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja.

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Asked about the president's remarks, a Pentagon spokesperson said, "We will not discuss hypothetical situations or specific measures within our rules on the use of force, but our forces Are trained professionals who always have the inherent right of defense". Despite not being a traditional ally of the United States, the Nigerian military is taking notice and following suit.

The Shia Islamic Movement, the country's largest Shia minority group, was protesting the detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky, his wife, and hundreds of other members who have been imprisoned since the group clashed with soldiers in December 2015. "We're going to arrest those people", he told reporters.

In Nigeria, Trump is a popular figure among many people who praise what they regard as his straightforwardness and frank talk despite his reported insult to the nation previous year when he said Nigerians in the United States would never "go back to their huts" in Africa.

Speaking to the BBC, Nigeria Army spokesman Brigadier General John Agim said they posted the video in response to Amnesty International's criticism of the army's deadly attacks on Shia protesters. Six people died after protests on Saturday, Amnesty International said, while 39 were killed on Monday.

The military did not return calls seeking comment on the deleted tweet. "So, a stone is a weapon", he said. "Many of these shootings clearly amount to extrajudicial executions", said Osai Ojigho Director of Amnesty International Nigeria in a statement.

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