Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called for an end to street protests in the country, as authorities in the commercial capital Lagos struggled to enforce a curfew imposed to contain anger over a crackdown on anti-police protesters.
Gunshots rang out and smoke rose from at least two fires in the commercial capital’s affluent Ikoyi neighbourhood on Thursday, witnesses said. A fire broke out in the district’s prison, the state government said. Video footage showed a blaze in a shopping mall in another part of Lagos.
Violence in Lagos, Africa’s biggest city – where witnesses on Thursday reported seeing young men, some armed with machetes, walking in parts of the city – has escalated since Wednesday. Groups of young men and armed police clashed in some neighbourhoods following a shooting on Tuesday night in Lekki district.
Rights group Amnesty International said soldiers and police killed at least 12 protesters in Lekki and Alausa, another Lagos district. The army has denied soldiers were at the site of the shooting, where people had gathered in defiance of the curfew.
The unrest has become a political crisis for Buhari, a former military leader who came to power at the ballot box in 2015 and is commander-in-chief of the armed forces.