Nigerian youths stage fresh protests as tensions rise

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Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS)
Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS)
PHOTO: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP
  • Youths took to the streets again in Nigeria's largest cities on Monday as a movement against police brutality snowballed into calls for sweeping changes.
  • Protests in the economic hub Lagos and the capital Abuja, as well as other cities, have been largely peaceful but reported violence is on the rise.
  • The governor of Osun state said thugs attacked his convoy on Saturday as he attended a protest in the state capital Osogbo.


Youths took to the streets again in Nigeria's largest cities on Monday as a movement against police brutality snowballed into calls for sweeping changes in the West African powerhouse.

Anger over abuses by the police's notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) erupted earlier this month in Africa's most populous nation and largest economy, forcing the government to scrap the unit.

Protests in the economic hub Lagos and the capital Abuja, as well as other cities, have been largely peaceful but reported violence is on the rise.

"We have documented escalating violence and coordinated attacks against peaceful #EndSars protesters, leading to casualties in Benin, Abuja, Jos, Oshogbo," Amnesty International said on Twitter on Monday.

The governor of Osun state said thugs attacked his convoy on Saturday as he attended a protest in the state capital Osogbo.

Local authorities in the southwestern state said they were probing the deaths of two people, insisting one victim had died in a motorcycle crash.

In the capital Abuja, tensions were high on Monday after protestors said they were attacked by suspected hired thugs on Sunday.

"The Nigerian army and police are everywhere, no doubt to stop the peaceful protest," 24-year-old demonstrator Anita Izato told AFP.

Meanwhile, police said one of their facilities was attacked on Monday by "persons posing as #EndSARS protestors" in Benin, Edo state.

"The extent of damage cannot be ascertained at the moment but report indicates that the protesters carted away arms and ammunition from the armoury and freed the suspects in custody before setting some of the facilities ablaze," the Nigerian police said on Twitter.

A new SWAT force to replace SARS was scheduled to start its training on Monday.

The unit "will operate within very high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices," a police statement said on Sunday, adding aht it would receive training from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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