The violence that rocked #EndSARS protests across the country worsened on Tuesday with 43 protesters and six policemen losing their lives.
Protesters calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the country since October 8.
However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja.
The hoodlums, who have been attacking protesters in Abuja, became emboldened on Tuesday when they killed six protesters at Waru, Wumba and Kubuwa, Punch reports.
In Lagos alone, no fewer than 29 people, including two police officers, were killed when the police shot protesters in different parts of the state.
In Mushin, 17 people lost their lives during a clash involving hoodlums and police officers attached to the Olosan Division.
The PUNCH gathered that the hoodlums, who reportedly barricaded the Oduwoye Junction in Mushin, denied the Divisional Police Officer, Olosan Division and some policemen, access to the route to a destination in the area.
In the process, it was learnt that there was a confrontation between the hoodlums and the policemen who reportedly retreated to their base.
However, tragedy struck when the policemen, reportedly led by the DPO, reinforced to the Oduwoye Junction and started releasing bullets into the air to scare away the hoodlums.
An eyewitness, who gave his name simply as Ashimiu, said when the hoodlums refused to leave the road, in a bid to disperse them, the policemen allegedly released some bullets into the crowd, adding that no fewer than 17 people had been reported dead.
He said, “People were at Oduwoye Junction in Mushin around 12.30 pm and blocked the road, but when the DPO of the Olosan Police Station and his team wanted to drive through the blocked route, they were denied access. This, however, led to confrontation, so they went back to their base.
“A few minutes after, the policemen, led by the DPO, reinforced to the blocked location and started shooting in the air to scare them away from the road. But when they realised that the people were unmoved, they released bullets into the crowd, and more than 17 people were killed. Many people also sustained grievous bullet wounds, some of whom were rushed to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
“I have personally seen seven corpses; three corpses at Atewolara Junction, two corpses at Way Street, opposite Oando Filing Station, and two corpses at Oduwoye Junction, opposite the market. Soldiers are in the area to douse the tension and some of the corpses were evacuated by them, while some other corpses were taken away by the families of the victims.”
Five persons, including two police officers and three #EndSARS protesters, were also killed during a clash involving police officers attached to Orile Police Division and some protesters in the Orile area of the state.
The PUNCH gathered that the protesters were chanting #EndSARS at the station when the DPO, Orile Division and her policemen allegedly opened fire at the protesters, killing three persons in the process.
Enraged by the development, it was learnt that a clash occurred between the protesters, including hoodlums, and police officers attached to the division. During the attack, the Orile Police Station was set ablaze.
One Bolaji, who witnessed the incident, accused the police of pulling the trigger that killed three of the protesters, adding that two stations were burnt due to the incident.
He said, “Around 9 am when the protesters got to the Orile Police Station, they were chanting #EndSARS and that they don’t want the Divisional Police Officer, popularly known as Iya Rainbow, to head the station again. There was a confrontation between the DPO and the people at the station.
“Annoyed by the development, the people clashed with the policemen, and they went to get petrol and set the station ablaze. When the people at Pako area got to know that someone had been shot dead at Orile, it propelled them to burn the station at Pako. The military personnel have brought normalcy in the area. I witnessed everything when the police opened fire, the people dispersed, and it was that opportunity that the DPO used in escaping.”
It was learnt that while three protesters were shot in the head by the police, two policemen died in a reprisal.
However, one Ugo Njoku, who chronicled the Orile attack on Whatsapp, gave the total number of deaths recorded to be five, adding that “DPO ordered police officers to shoot directly at the protesters. Three people fall dead while several others sustained injuries and are rushed to hospital…The two officers killed are the trigger-happy policemen that shot at the protesters.”