Nearly 70 people killed in Nigeria during police brutality protests

2020-10-24 19:25:07
Nearly 70 people killed in Nigeria during police brutality protests

At least 51 civilians and 18 and security forces have died across Nigeria since the protests against police brutality began on October 8, with 38 killed in Africa’s most populous country on Tuesday alone.

In a statement released late Friday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari blamed “hooliganism” for the violence while asserting security forces used “extreme restraint”, comments that are expected to further inflame tensions.

Buhari was speaking to a special meeting with former heads of state and other officials on the way forward after some of Nigeria’s worst turmoil in years.

Soldiers remained in parts of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, as a 24-hour curfew remained in place.

The protests turned violent Wednesday after the military’s shooting a day earlier, as mobs vandalised and burned police stations, courthouses, TV stations and a hotel.

Police battled angry crowds with tear gas and gunfire. The looting and shooting continued on Thursday.

The demonstrations began early this month with calls for Nigeria’s government to shut down the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a notorious police unit known as SARS.

The squad was launched to fight crime but it carried out torture and killings, according to Amnesty International.

The #EndSARS campaign spread across the country and Buhari’s government announced it would disband the SARS unit.

The protest persisted with demonstrators calling for more widespread reforms of the police and an end to corruption.

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