Police brutality leaves 10 demonstrators dead in Nigeria, Amnesty International says

Ten people died in protests over police brutality in Nigeria, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

The the human rights group said police used excessive force against unarmed protesters since the protests started last Thursday.

“So far, Nigerian Police have killed at least 10 people since the start of protests against callous operations of SARS,” according to Amnesty International.

SARS refers to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a controversial Nigerian police unit that has been the target of nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality. Police announced Sunday the unit will be dissolved.

“The excessive use of force by the police in response to the protests reveals the longstanding disregard for the right to life by Nigerian security forces,” Amnesty said.

The agency said excessive use of force “without justifiable grounds is a crime under international law.”

“Amnesty International therefore calls for an urgent review of the use of force and firearms by police officers against protesters and thorough, independent and impartial investigation into all cases of violence including deaths that occurred during the #EndSARS protests,” Seun Bakare, head of programs at Amnesty International Nigeria said.

A new tactical unit to replace the dissolved SARS will be known as Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT.

Former police officers from SARS will be part of the new unit but will undergo psychological and medical examinations to make sure they are fit, according to the inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu.

“The officers are expected to undergo this process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties,” said Adamu.

President Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday, “We also deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations. I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.”

“We will ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice,” Buhari added.

Nigerian police allegedly fired tear gas, water cannons and live ammunition at protesters in the capital of Abuja viral social media videos showed.