İrem UZUN -TDO- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says 69 people have been killed in protests against police brutality that have rocked the country. The deaths were mainly civilians but include police officers and soldiers.

The protests in Nigeria began on 7 October with mostly young people demanding the scrapping of a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars). The unit was dissolved days later, but the protests continued, demanding broader reforms in the way Nigeria is governed. They escalated after a shooting in the nation's biggest city, Lagos, on Tuesday, when rights group Amnesty International says security forces killed at least 12 people. Nigeria's army has denied any involvement. President Buhari said “I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.” 

Lagos was placed under a 24-hour curfew amid the mass protests. The state's governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also published a list of 23 police officers who have been charged or are waiting to be charged with various offences relating to brutality. The charges include murder, manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, armed robbery and causing grievous body harm.  He said he had published the list to show he was "rebuilding Lagos and ending police brutality".

In his address to the nation on Thursday, Buhari urged youth involved in protests against police brutality to end the demonstrations and begin a dialogue with the government. However, Buhari did not mention the shooting by security forces of protesters on Tuesday. In a series of tweets late Wednesday, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed his condolences and promised justice for those shot dead.

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