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22 cops killed in Nigeria protests

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Nigeria police said Friday that 22 officers were killed and 205 police stations destroyed during nationwide protests this month and denied reports it had shot at peaceful demonstrators.

Youth-led protests against police brutality and poor governance erupted on October 8 in the biggest show of people power in years across Africa’s most populous country.

The protests were halted after demonstrators came under fire from security forces on October 20 in Lagos, unleashing a wave of unrest by angry mobs.

Amnesty International said 12 people were killed by security forces during the shooting, and 56 civilians overall had been killed since the start of the protests.

But the police insisted its force “exercised commendable restraints” and “some paid the supreme price for peace.”

“Police personnel were extra-judicially killed by some rampaging protesters,” spokesman Franck Mba said in a statement, adding that “scores” were injured, “many in life-threatening conditions”.

The police described the rights group’s report as “untrue, misleading”.

“Our police officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report.”

The Nigerian army has also denied shooting at unarmed demonstrators.

“At no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any civilian,” spokesman Major Osoba Olaniyi said in a statement. 


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