Nigerians demand end of police squad known for brutalizing youth

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A protester in Lagos, Olasunkanmi Amoo, 26, said President Buhari’s statement was a hollow promise – and she noted that the protests had not stopped.

“We’re all still outside,” she said. “People are very suspicious because you can talk as much as you want, but if you don’t do anything, we’ll still be there. We are coming back tomorrow. We don’t trust him and we don’t believe him.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was established in 1992 and tasked with tackling the problem of violent crime in Lagos. It functioned as a faceless team of 15 members who traveled in two unmarked buses, its officers often wearing no uniforms or badges.

Anonymity was seen as vital in dealing with the gangs that openly terrorized Lagos at the time. But as the police unit grew and established itself across the country, its faceless nature opened the door to abuse, making it difficult to identify and report rogue officers and encourage them to act in isolation. all impunity, critics say.

The SARS unit has been accused of targeting young people who appear well dressed, shaking them for money, and torturing and mistreating and even killing those who resist. Amnesty International claims to have documented more than 82 cases of abuse and extrajudicial killings committed by SARS operatives between January 2017 and May.

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