The Nigerian president said 51 civilians were killed in the recent unrests after days of peaceful protests against police harassment. He blamed hooliganism for the violence while defending the security forces claiming they exercised extreme restraint in dealing with the protests.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments in a statement released late Friday are expected to spark tensions after Amnesty International said soldiers shot and killed at least 12 demonstrators on Tuesday night as a large crowd sang the national anthem.
Buhari also said that as of Thursday, 11 police officers and seven soldiers had been killed by the rioters and the chaos had not stopped.
He said 37 other civilians were injured. He spoke at a special meeting with former heads of state and other officials about the way forward after some of Nigeria’s worst upheaval in years.
Many people have died in the unrest in Nigeria, said the president’s office on Friday as the government said days of peaceful protest against police harassment had been taken over by bandits.
In a national address on Thursday, Bukhari made no mention of the shooting, which sparked international outrage. Instead, the president warned protesters against being used by subversive elements and undermining national security and law and order.
He reiterated on Friday that the government will not cross arms and allow criminals and criminals to continue the hooliganism in the country.