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Youths protesting peacefully against police brutality in Lagos. The protests assumed a violent dimension last week when hoodlums and security agents started attacking protesters. At least 56 people have died across the country since the protests began, according to Amnesty International, even though it’s generally believed that the casualties’ figure is much higher/Photo: Sahara Reporters

UN, US and EU condemn massacre of peaceful youth protesters in Lagos

The UN, US and EU have joined the growing international condemnation of the massacre of peaceful youth protesters in Lagos, Nigeria, on Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for an end to police brutality and attack on #EndSARS protesters.

The UN chief, who said he was following the developments in the country, criticized the killing of the activists and called on the authorities to investigate the incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The statement read, “The Secretary-General is following recent developments in Nigeria and calls for an end to reported police brutality and abuses.

“He condemns the violent escalation on October 20 in Lagos which resulted in multiple deaths and caused many injuries.

“The Secretary-General urges the security forces to act at all times with maximum restraint while calling on protestors to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.”

In its own reaction, the European Union said it was shocked by the killings in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

In a press issue titled, ‘Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell’ on Wednesday, the EU said: “It is crucial that those responsible for abuses be brought to justice and held accountable.”

The Union said it was looking forward to seeing the sort of reforms that would be put in place to ensure that an end is put to police abuse in Nigeria.

The US State Department has also condemned “excessive force” by Nigerian military forces on unarmed civilians and called for restraint. “We welcome an immediate investigation into any use of excessive force by members of the security forces. Those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Protests by youths demanding the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, which began on October 8, assumed a violent dimension last week when hoodlums and security agents started attacking protesters. Anger over abuses committed by the unit sparked widespread protests which have drawn thousands to the streets.

On Tuesday, the violence escalated when soldiers and policemen, as well as hoodlums, killed no fewer than 43 protesters. Six policemen also lost their lives in the crisis, according to media reports.

There have also been reports of pockets of violence in different parts of Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city of 20 million inhabitants, on Thursday.

At least 56 people have died across the country since the protests began, according to Amnesty International.

Kola Tella

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