Nigerian Army Uses Trump’s Remarks to Justify Shooting Protesters

The Nigerian army on Friday used President Trump’s Thursday declaration that rocks thrown by migrants should be considered rifles to justify the slaughter of 45 protesters that human-rights advocates claim were unarmed, according to BuzzFeed News. The official Twitter account of the Nigerian army tweeted the video of Trump’s speech—in which he says that “If they want to throw rocks at our military [...] I told them, consider it a rifle”—along with the caption: “Please Watch and Make your Deductions.” The tweet comes just days after the army shot and killed 45 Muslim protesters in the capital city of Abuja. The army maintains that the protesters were armed, and claims that only six were killed. BuzzFeed notes that Nigeria’s defense spokesperson, Brig. Gen. John Agim, confirmed that the army had tweeted the Trump video to dispel criticism that it violated the law. Trump’s comments have been lambasted domestically, as former military officials note that treating rocks as rifles would violate rules of engagement and military values.