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Buhari blames ‘rioters’ as cops wade in

AT LEAST 69 people have been killed during clashes as Nigerian authorities attacked protests against police brutality, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday.

He said that 11 police officers and seven soldiers had been killed by “rioters,” warning that “the mayhem has not stopped” as he insisted that the demonstrations had been hijacked by thugs.

In a televised address last week he urged Nigerians not to undermine national security and law and order, saying that the government “will not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals to continue to perpetuate acts of hooliganism.”

But his remarks have been widely criticised. Amnesty International reported that 12 unarmed civilians were shot dead during protests in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos on Tuesday.

Nigerians took to the streets on October 7 in demonstrations against the special anti-Robbery squad (Sars), a police unit accused of murder, extortion and other abuses. It has since been disbanded, but protesters are pressing for wider democratic changes.

Police chief Mohammad Amadu mobilised all police resources on Saturday, insisting he was determined to stamp out rioting and looting.

He warned that “enough is enough” and has ordered officers to “use all legitimate means to halt a further slide into lawlessness.”

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