Men armed with melee weapons, including machetes, reportedly attacked protesters affiliated with the #EndSARS campaign, calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), in Benin City (Edo state) on Friday, October 16. Reports suggest that at least two people were killed and a number of others injured in the clashes, which occurred near the King's Square area. Gunshots were also reported in the area, with reports suggesting that the attackers may have fired into the air. The protesters were able to repel the assailants and continue their protest.
Further protests are likely throughout Nigeria in the near term, with a heightened security presence to be expected in response. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out. Disruptions to transportation and business should be anticipated.
A series of protests organized by the #ENDSARS social media campaign have been held across Nigeria in recent months, with demonstrations having often led to clashes between protesters and security forces. Unrest has continued despite an announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that SARS would be disbanded and replaced by a new agency called SWAT, a move which protesters have rejected.
Those in Benin City are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the vicinity of the demonstration, anticipate disruptions to overland transport, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer