The Nigerian Army, which has been accused of using excessive deadly force against Muslim protesters, appeared to use a recent comment by President Donald Trump to justify the violence, according to CBS News.
In a since-deleted Twitter post, the Nigerian Army posted a video clip of Trump saying the military should treat migrant caravan members as if they have rifles if they throw rocks at troops.
"They want to throw rocks at our military--our military fights back," Trump said Thursday. "We're going to consider it, and I told them, consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police I say consider it a rifle."
The Nigerian Army posted that clip with the caption, "Please watch and make your deductions."
The Nigerian director of defense said the tweet was a direct response to an Amnesty International investigation that accused the army of using excessive force in the killing of at least 45 Islamic Movement in Nigeria supporters in a two day period.
According to The New York Times, social media videos show Muslim protesters throwing rocks at soldiers and then being shot in the back as they attempted to run away.
"We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?" a Nigerian Army spokesman said. "What are they then saying? What did David use to kill Goliath? So a stone is a weapon.
"Our soldiers sustained injuries. The Shiites even burnt one of our vehicles, so what are Amnesty International saying?" the spokesman concluded.
Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, condemned the tactic as "sickening."
According to the Nigerian Army, “We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as… https://t.co/8sHkzgAX9z— Samantha Power (@Samantha Power)1541171979.0
What's going on in Nigeria?
Violence in Nigeria stems from the detainment of Islamic Movement of Nigeria leader Ibraheem Zakzaky. He's been in custody for nearly three years, and the IMN is demanding his release.
Zakzaky was arrested in the aftermath of an alleged attempt to kill Nigerian Army Gen. Tukur Buratai in December 2015.
About 400 members of the IMN have been arrested by Nigerian police since the protests began on Saturday.