Nigeria's largest military arm appeared to use the words of US President Donald Trump on Friday to defend the shooting of demonstrators last week.
The Official Twitter account of the Nigerian army, one of three service branches within the Nigerian armed forces, released a video detailing Trump's speech in the White House on Thursday on illegal immigration and border security, in which the US president said that American soldiers would be pelted with rocks and rocks as firearms considered.
"We will not put up with that – if they want to throw stones at our military, our military will defend itself," says Trump in the video. "I told them, consider it a rifle."
The tweet was released just days after clashes between Nigerian soldiers and Shiite Muslims, which were again deadly.
Since the beginning of this year, demonstrators have frequently flooded the streets of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to demand the release of Ibrahim Zakzaky, the imprisoned leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), an organization based in the northern city of Zaria.
It is an outspoken proponent of Shiite Muslims in a country dominated by its Sunni peers.
Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015, when the Nigerian security forces killed hundreds of his followers. He was held incommunicado until April and remains in detention for being charged with murder in connection with the 2015 violence, causing a stir among his followers.
Last weekend and Monday, security forces blew bullets and tear gas at supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as the group marched on the outskirts of Abuja. Nigeria's defense spokesman, Brig. Gen. John Agim, said in a statement that demonstrators had wounded soldiers with stones, damaged military vehicles, blocked traffic and attempted to cross a military checkpoint leading into the federal capital area.
Six demonstrators have been killed, according to Agim, who said troops are being subjected to "unprovoked attacks" that were "planned and planned" by protesters.
"In all these attacks, the IMN was the attacker, while the military was only self-defense," Agim said in the statement Thursday.
However, a survey by Amnesty International found that the body count was much higher.
At least 45 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were killed by security forces on Saturday and Monday when the group held "peaceful gatherings" in Abuja for two days, according to the London-based international human rights observers.
"We have witnessed a shocking and unreasonable deployment of soldiers and police officers with deadly force against IMN members, and video footage and testimonies consistently show that the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gathering by firing live ammunition without warning." Osai Ojigho, Executive Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, "said Wednesday in a statement," The injured were shot in various places on the body – head, neck, back, chest, shoulder, legs, arms. Some of them had multiple gunshot wounds. This pattern clearly shows that soldiers and policemen have turned to IMN processions in order not to restore but kill public order. "
Amnesty International cursed the "cruel use of excessive force" by the Nigerian military and said researchers have "strong evidence" that security forces used automatic firearms during Monday's protest.
"It appears that the Nigerian military deliberately uses tactics to kill at IMN meetings, many of which are clearly extrajudicial executions," Osai Ojigho said. "This crackdown on IMN protesters is unjustified and unacceptable, they had the full right to hold a procession and a protest, and there was no evidence that they were an immediate threat to life."
The US Embassy and the US Consulate in Nigeria issued a statement on Thursday expressing concern about "deaths from clashes between Nigerian security forces and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria."
"We urge the Government of Nigeria to conduct a thorough investigation of the events and to take appropriate action to hold those responsible responsible for violations of the Nigerian law," said the embassy. "We demand restraint on all sides."
On Friday morning, the Nigerian army appeared to respond to Amnesty International's accusations by submitting the video with Trump's comments, along with the heading "Please pay attention and make your deductions."
The Nigerian army put out the tweet later, but not before various news agencies and US officials had seen it.
United Nations Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, tweeted a picture of the Nigerian army tweets with the video of Trump and called the tweet "disgusting."
Trump returned his comments the following day, saying that the troops "did not have to shoot."
"What I do not want is – I do not want these people throwing stones," the president said, adding that if migrants throw stones at troops, "there will be problems," I said. But they do that with us, they are arrested for a long time. "
Nigerian army spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu did not respond to requests from ABC News on Friday for commenting on the tweet and why he was taken down.
Nigeria defense spokesman Agim told ABC News that he believes the army is responding to Amnesty International's criticism by "using Mr Trump's video to justify the shooting".
"What did the biblical David use to kill Goliath? I think you know he uses stone," Agim said. "I do not think you expect soldiers to fold their hands and watch the demonstrators run over them."
Osai Ojigho of Amnesty International Nigeria, responding to the long-dismissed tweet of the Nigerian army, said that the government of the West African state "must hold its security forces accountable, rather than facing hopeless competition over who better offens human rights." "
"Fundamental human rights are not subject to world leaders' whims," Osai Ojigho said in a statement on Saturday.
The White House did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comments on Saturday.
Meridith McGraw of ABC News contributed to this report.