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EndSARS: Nigerian Army Warns Protesters

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The Nigerian military has issued a warning to “subversive elements and trouble makers”

to desist after a week of protests about police brutality.

Youths of ENDSARS protesters display their placards in a crowd in support of the ongoing protest against the harassment, killings and brutality of The Nigerian Police Force Unit called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) at Allen Roundabout in Ikeja, on October 13, 2020.

 

The warning came as protesters were attacked by unidentified men with machetes in the capital, Abuja.

Demonstrations against police brutality have taken place in cities across Nigeria in the past week.

The protests have continued despite authorities agreeing to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).

 

In a statement, the military said it

“hereby warns all subversive elements and troublemakers” and that it

“remains highly committed to defending the country and her democracy at all cost”.

 

The Nigerian Army “is ready to fully support the civil authority in whatever capacity to maintain law and order

and deal with any situation decisively,” the statement said.

 

The protests have drawn thousands of mainly young demonstrators onto the streets and online in the most concerted

show of people power in years.

Flag-waving crowds on Thursday headed towards the national assembly in the capital Abuja as people gathered

again to block traffic on key roads in largest city Lagos.

 

The government has been forced into rare concessions by the protests and has promised a raft of

measures to try to appease the popular ire.

 

The country’s police chief announced on Tuesday that the SARS unit was being replaced by a new SWAT outfit,

but protesters were quick to reject this and push for more sweeping change.

 

In response the Nigerian police insisted that no members of the former unit would be eligible for the new one, promising that its officers

will be “barred from indiscriminate and unlawful searches”.

 

Despite the vow to reform, Amnesty International said the violent response

by law enforcement to protests undermined the promises.

 

“Nigerians are sceptical of authorities’ pledge to end police atrocities

because the past claims of reforming SARS have turned out to be empty words,”

said Osai Ojigho, the director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

 

“That police are still using excessive force on peaceful protesters, leading to injuries and deaths in Lagos, Ughelli, Abuja and Ogbomosho,

throws through the window claims of any commitment to ending violations of human rights by Nigeria police,” he said.

 

Source: TheGuardian

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