Nigerian Army Uses Trump Rhetorics To Justify Killing Shi’ite Protesters

Nigerian Army Uses Trump Rhetorics To Justify Killing Shi’ite Protesters [WATCH]

By Abdul Jummai | Politics Reporter on November 2, 2018
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Rights Terrorism Soldiers Nigerian Army Tukur Buratai Shi'ite Shia Killings Zaria Killings
'Arrest the Butcher of Zaria, Lt. Gen Buratai': Protests in London over the Zaria massacre of Shi'ites by Nigerian Army as President Buhari visits London on May 10 - May 14, 2016 for an anti-corruption summit | ABNA

The Nigerian Army has posted a video of US President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones to justify opening fire on a Shiite group this week.

“Please watch and make your deductions,” said the army in a now-deleted post on its official Twitter account on Friday, November 2, 2018.

In the video, Trump warns that soldiers deployed to the Mexican border could shoot Central American migrants who throw stones at them while attempting to cross illegally.

“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” said Trump in remarks made on Thursday.

“I told them (troops) consider it (a rock) a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexican military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

Nigeria’s defence spokesman John Agim told journalists that the army posted the video in response to criticism that its security forces had acted unlawfully.

He attempted to justify shooting at rock-throwing protesters by saying that they set a military vehicle on fire.

“We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?” he told The New York Times. “What are they then saying? What did David use to kill Goliath? So a stone is a weapon.”

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria said 49 of its members were killed after the army and police fired live bullets at crowds who marched near and in the capital Abuja.

The army’s official death toll was six.

Amnesty International said Wednesday it had “strong evidence” that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people in an “unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police”.

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

“The video was posted in reaction to the Amnesty International report accusing the army of using weapons against pacifist Shiite protesters,” said Agim.

“Not only did they use stones but they were carrying petrol bombs, machetes and knives, so yes, we consider them as being armed,” said Agim.

“We intervened only because the IMN members are trying to harm our people, they are always meeting us…at security check points and trying to provoke us, they even burned a police vehicle.”

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria preparing the bodies of members killed when the Nigerian Army opened fire during the group’s protests in the capital Abuja this week.CreditCreditAfolabi Sotunde/Reuters
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria preparing the bodies of members killed when the Nigerian Army opened fire during the group’s protests in the capital Abuja this week. | Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

This is not the first time foreign leaders have used America’s President Trump’s words to justify undemocratic acts. In January, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte branded a media outlet that had been shuttered as “fake news.” Trump has also spoken fondly of authoritarian leaders such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Duterte.

Nigerian State Declares War On Shi’ites

Following a street clash in December 2015, between the sects members and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, following which the army conducted a house-by-house raid on the sect, killing over 800 members in cold blood.

Governor Nasir El Rufai went on television and declared the group guilty and promised to “end this problem once and for all” as he repeated the dubious claim by the army that there was an assassination attempt on the life of the Chief of Army Staff.

That same month, El Rufai in a destructive show of power ordered the demolishing of all properties, worship centres, schools, tombs, and even a cemetery belonging to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. The Kaduna State agency, KASUPDA carried out the illegal operation.

On December 23, 2015 the Islamic Movement of Nigeria complained that under the protection of Nigerian Army and the Nigeria’s Secret Police, the Department of State Security Services, DSS, officials of KASUPDA “razed to ground” what remained of the sect’s Husainiyya Islamic centre.

“We are particularly irked by the demolition of our newly bought property adjacent the Husainiyya Baqiyyatullah, a former NTC compound, which they did yesterday. That compound has been in existence since the colonial times,” the statement said.

The Dubious Attempted Assassination Claim

According to the Nigerian Army, it’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buraitai was trying to make his way through a procession of the Shi’ia sect when an assassination attempt was made on his life by followers of El-Zakzaky who is the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. In an attempt to repel the attack by assailants who “brandished dangerous weapons”, Nigerian troops opened fire on the crowd and killed an undisclosed number of people. According to some reports as many as seventeen people were killed.

In an attempt to win the hearts and minds of Nigerian by justifying the killings of Shi’ite faithfuls in Zaria, the Army authorities released a video showing its officers negotiating with followers of leading Shi’ia cleric, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

But the video released by the army doesn’t prove its claim. It only shows some of Buraitai’s men negotiating for passage, presumably for their boss, and being declined. It doesn’t show the arrival of the army boss to the scene, neither does it show the alleged assassination attempt. It doesn’t show the troops engaging the unruly youth.

Gross Human Rights Abuse Against Shi’ites

Following the street clash between the army and followers of the sect, the Nigerian Army proceeded to invade the home of the leader of the sect, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, kill his son and wife, shoot him four times, drag him out from his house like an animal, bloodied, disrobed, and dump him in a wheelbarrow.

For several months after El Zakzaky was arrested, his whereabouts were sketchy as the chief of army staff claimed he had “handed him over to appropriate authorities”, and the then inspector general of police, Solomon Arase has refused to disclose his location to interested parties.

In a two-day rampage of unrestrained violence, Nigerian soldiers killed 800 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, demolished buildings including a mosque belonging to the Shi’ite sect, and destroyed properties. Associated Press reports that the Nigerian Army has secretly buried their victims to cover-up their crimes against humanity.

The Emir of Kano, Sanusi II has issued a statement on the incident saying that the Shi’ia sect “insults relatives of Prophet Mohammed” and said that the sect’s ideology is “unacceptable to all Muslims”. The King of Saudi Arabia congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on phone calling the brutal crackdown on the minority sect as “fighting terrorism”.

Human Rights Watch has released a report which says that Nigerian soldiers murdered over 300 Shi’ite members and buried them secretly in mass graves to cover up their crimes.

The Kaduna State government admitting to burying more than 370 bodies of the victims of the Army genocide in mass graves.

Two videos have emerged showing the extent of human rights abuses committed in Zaria by the Nigerian Army. Unlike the ‘promotional’ video shot through the eyes of the troops which has been traced to Army Spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, these videos paint an unsettling picture of a siege on unarmed civilians by a bloodthirsty army, these videos are those recorded by eye-witnesses to these crimes.

In one of the videos, soldiers are seen laying a firing squad around a Shi’ite shrine. in preparation of an onslaught on the sect. The second video shows soldiers going house-by-house committing acts of murder as the victims scream in helplessness.

Legal Reprieve

On December 2, 2016, close to a year since El Zakzaky was shot several times in his home and bundled out of his house with his wife by troops of the Nigerian Army, a federal high court ordered his release and awarded N50 million in damages to the Zakzakys.

The court ordered that the federal government provided the cleric and his wife with a new accommodation and security in any part of Kaduna or Northern region that they prefer within 45 days. The federal government is yet to obey the court order and he remains illegally in detention.

Today, Wednesday, April 12, 2017 marks 486 days that the Shi’ite leader has spent in detention, illegally, on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Read more at Politico, The New York Times

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