- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
- The Nigerian Army on Friday shared a clip of President Donald Trump saying US troops would open fire on rock-throwing migrants to justify firing on and killing Shia protesters earlier in the week.
- “We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” Trump said on Thursday. “I told them to consider it a rifle.”
- The Nigerian Army shared a clip of Trump’s remarks on Twitter with the caption, “Please Watch and Make your Deductions.”
- Nigerian troops reportedly killed over 40 Shia protesters on Monday.
The Nigerian Army on Friday shared a clip of President Donald Trump saying US troops would open fire on rock-throwing migrants to justify firing on and killing Shia protesters earlier in the week.
Nigerian troops fired on a group of roughly 1000 Shia protesters on Monday, killing over 40 people, according to Amnesty International and leaders of the march. Nigeria’s military has repeatedly been decried for ongoing human rights abuses, but the US government has continued to sell it warplanes and other military equipment.
Trump on Thursday delivered remarks on a migrant caravan heading to the US-Mexico border, and said he told troops to consider rocks thrown as firearms. The president has deployed thousands of active-duty military personnel to the border to confront the caravan.
‘They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back’
“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” Trump said. “I told them to consider it a rifle.”
The Nigerian Army shared a clip of Trump’s remarks on Twitter with the caption, “Please Watch and Make your Deductions.”
John Agim, a spokesman for the Nigerian Army, on Friday said the video was released as a response to Amnesty International’s condemnation of Monday’s incident, The New York Times reports.
“We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?” he said. “What are they then saying? What did David use to kill Goliath? So a stone is a weapon.”
Trump’s comments have faced significant criticism, including from veterans.
Paul Szoldra, a US Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and is now editor-in-chief at Task and Purpose, responded to Trump’s comments in a series of tweets.
“This is absolutely not part of the military’s Rules of Engagement, though this comment will certainly be used at court-martial if DoD personnel fire at immigrants,” Szoldra said.
In a separate tweet, Szoldra said Trump had “publicly advocated” for US troops to commit a “war crime,” which he said was seemingly unprecedented in terms of rhetoric from a sitting US president.
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who served in the US Army for nearly four decades, echoed these sentiments.
“FWIW, there is no leader in the military – Officer or NCO – who would allow a soldier to shoot at an individual throwing a rock,” Hertling said in a tweet. “They know that violates the rules of engagement, the law of land warfare & the values those in the military believe. It would be an unlawful order.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
‘A wasteful deployment’
Trump’s decision to deploy troops to the border has also faced backlash. Critics have described it as a political stunt, though Defense Secretary Jim Mattis rejected this characterization.
But retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday described Trump’s decision as “wasteful.” He also seemed to condemn Trump’s remarks on shooting rock-throwing migrants by stating the situation would be made “much worse” if troops use disproportionate force.
“Our men and women in uniform are better trained, better equipped, and better led so they meet any threat with confidence,” Dempsey said in a tweet. “A wasteful deployment of over-stretched Soldiers and Marines would be made much worse if they use force disproportional to the threat they face. They won’t.”