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A protester waves the Nigerian national flag while gathering with other protesters during a demonstration against police brutality. Photo: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. lawmakers are tabling a proposal to sell almost $1 billion in weapons to Nigeria over human rights abuses committed by the government, Reuters reported Thursday.

Why it matters: U.S. officials said Nigerian military forces used "excessive force" on unarmed civilians after opening fire on protesters demonstrating against police brutality last year. Thousands of Nigerians have accused the special police unit SARS, which was later disbanded, of extortion, torture and sexual violence.

  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee have delayed the proposed weapons sale, which consists of 12 Cobra attack helicopters, spare engines, navigation systems and 2,000 precision-guided munitions.

Worth noting: "The sale that has been put on hold could have an impact on Nigeria's efforts to seek support to fight Islamic State-allied group Boko Haram in the northeast and armed bandits in the northwest of the country," Reuters writes.

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Senate Dems vow to investigate "flawed" U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez. Photo: Office of Sen. Bob Menendez

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said Tuesday he would hold hearings into the "flawed" U.S. troop withdrawal of Afghanistan.

Driving the news: Menendez, who blamed both the Biden and Trump administrations for the crisis unfolding in the Taliban-controlled country, is one of three top Democrats who head Senate committees who've vowed to investigate the Afghanistan crisis.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

2 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.