© Reuters. Nigerians participate in a protest in opposition to alleged violence, extortion and harassment from Nigeria’s Particular Anti-Theft Squad (SARS), in Lagos
By Alexis Akwagyiram and Abrahim Achirga
LAGOS (Reuters) – The pinnacle of Nigeria’s police dissolved its Particular Anti-Theft Squad with rapid impact on Sunday, a police assertion mentioned, prompted by days of protests throughout the nation in opposition to alleged brutality by the controversial unit.
The protests broke out after a video circulated final week allegedly displaying members of the unit – often called SARS – taking pictures useless a person in Delta state. It additionally prompted a globally-trending social media marketing campaign to abolish the squad.
Demonstrators additionally alleged that police shot useless one other man whereas marching within the southwestern metropolis of Ogbomosho on Saturday. Police didn’t reply to requests for touch upon the allegations.
“The dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian individuals,” the police assertion mentioned.
It added that the police was redeploying unit members and would announce a brand new technique to deal with SARS’ remit of combating armed theft, kidnapping and different violent crime.
Protesters and rights teams met the announcement with scepticism and requires justice. Police officers and politicians have mentioned they had been disbanding or reforming SARS a number of occasions lately, with little seen change, critics say.
“All of them should be punished or disciplined,” mentioned Charles Avackaa, a Lagos media government who alleged SARS officers have extorted 100,000 naira ($262.7) from him.
“However they mess up and (their bosses) carry them and put them some other place, there may be nothing on how they function,” he mentioned.
For years, Nigerians have accused SARS of heavy-handed strategies, significantly the younger, who say officers usually goal, beat and extort them.
An Amnesty Worldwide report in June documented 82 alleged instances of SARS mistreating, torturing and extra-judicially executing detainees.
On Sunday, Nigerian police used teargas to disperse a whole lot of protesters within the capital Abuja, a repeat of what witnesses mentioned had been related occasions on Friday.
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