Nigerian army warning amid anti-police brutality protests
The Nigerian military has issued a warning to “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist after a week of protests about police brutality.
The warning came as protesters were attacked by unidentified men with machetes in the capital, Abuja.
Demonstrations against police brutality have taken place in cities across Nigeria in the past week.
The protests have continued despite authorities agreeing to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).
The army spokesman Col Sagir Musa said in a Facebook post that “The NA (Nigerian army) hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost”.
The statement from the Nigerian Army has been received as a veiled threat by protesters, reports the BBC’s Chris Ewokor from Abuja.
On Wednesday protesters against police violence in Abuja were attacked by men with machetes.
Witnesses said several hundred demonstrators were gathered in the city centre when the attack took place.
One protester said some of the assailants were later detained and handed over to the authorities.
The protests started following the alleged killing of a young man by officers from the Sars unit at the beginning of October.
Protesters called for the Sars unit to be disbanded.
The police closed down the unit and announced a new unit – the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team.
But protesters rejected the announcement, as many see the changes as not enough to reform the police.
The protests have attracted worldwide attention, most recently the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey tweeting his support for the protests.