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Monday, January 11, 2021

Fires burn in Nigeria after soldiers shoot protesters

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Fires burn in Nigeria after soldiers shoot protesters
Fires burn in Nigeria after soldiers shoot protesters

Nigeria's biggest city Lagos and several states were under curfews on Wednesday as unrest rooted in anti-police protests broke out again following a day of violence, including the shooting of civilians by security forces.

Libby Hogan reports.

Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, woke to another morning of unrest on Wednesday (October 21) despite a round-the-clock curfew and the President calling for "understanding and calm." A TV station was set on fire in the morning and video verified by Reuters showed police kicked and shot a man.

It follows a day of violence where soldiers opened fire on Nigerians protesting against police bruality and according to four witnesses who spoke to Reuters, where at least two people were shot.

Thousands in Nigeria demonstrated for nearly two weeks in what was initially focused against a police unit, called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, accused of extortion, harassment, torture and murders.

But more Nigerians have filled the streets, driven by poverty and economic hardship from the coronavirus.

By Wednesday police set up checkpoints, as they tried to enforce the curfew, but groups of men were seen blocking major roads and overturning traffic signs.

Human rights group Amnesty International said the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters at two locations in Lagos on Tuesday.

And over 50 have died across the country since protests began on October 8.

A Lagos police spokesman told Reuters through WhatsApp that he was "not aware of any such allegation" regarding the man who was kicked and shot, and said that there were no killings in the district of Alausa, one of the locations where Amnesty said protesters were killed, which he said is "a very peaceful place." The turmoil has boiled over beyond Lagos, including the oil production hub in the south.

The TV station attacked on Wednesday is believed to be owned by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, who is believed to have used his influence to bring the last three governors to power.

Many also believe he owns the toll gate that has been the site of daily protests and is where the protesters were fired upon on Tuesday.


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