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#EndSARS protests: Nigeria abolishes loathed federal special police unit

Nigeria has dissolved the special police force at the centre of protests against police brutality.

The government said a special presidential directive had ordered the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).

Protests against the squad were sparked by a video of a man allegedly being killed by police.

The demonstrations have intensified despite a crackdown and have spread outside the country.
What does the directive say?

All the officers in the Sars squad - widely accused of unlawful arrests, torture and murder - are to be redeployed, the presidency said, and a new arrangement to replace the squad is being worked on.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's chief of police said an a team of investigators - including civil society organisations and human rights bodies - would be set up to investigate alleged abuses by Sars.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said he was determined to end police brutality, introduce reforms and bring "erring personnel... to justice".

Protesters had demanded the unit be disbanded rather than reformed because previous commitments to change police behaviour had had no effect.

How have the protests spread?

The BBC's Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones says clashes between anti-Sars protestors and policemen have been growing.

Multiple eyewitnesses told the BBC they were beaten by police officers, as well as seeing others being attacked during protests on Sunday morning, she says.

A young woman who had strayed from the crowd at one protest told the BBC she had been beaten by 10 policemen who broke her glasses. A BBC reporter was also stopped by the police and her mobile phone broken by an officer.

Meanwhile the hashtag #EndSARS has been trending in Nigeria and globally, with demonstrations spreading to the UK and Canada.

Celebrities including the Nigerian superstars Wizkid and Davido, as well as British-Nigerian Star Wars actor John Boyega, have backed the protests on social media. 


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