Unidentified individuals burned down the Central Police Station during a protest being held in Abakaliki (Ebonyi state) on Monday, October 26. The assailants, reportedly members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), set fire to the station as retaliation for the alleged killing of some of their members by police during previous unrest occurring in the city. A number of vehicles were also set alight in the vicinity of the station. Reports suggest that a peaceful protest was also held in Ikwo Local Government Area (LGA). The IPOB had announced that its members would be resuming protesters from Monday as part of the #EndSARS campaign.
Further protests in Abakaliki are possible over the near term. A heightened security presence and associated transport and business disruptions are to be expected near protest sites.
A series of protests organized through the #EndSARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) social media campaign have been held across Nigeria over the past few months and intensified in recent days, with demonstrations having led to fatal clashes between protesters and security forces. Unrest has continued despite an announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that the controversial SARS police unit would be disbanded and replaced by a new agency called SWAT, a move which protesters have rejected.
Those in Abakaliki are advised to monitor the situation, adjust travel itineraries and avoid unnecessary overland movement in the immediate term, avoid the vicinity of any demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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