News ID: 263364
Published: 0259 GMT December 23, 2019

Pro-government group attacks rally demanding release of 'illegally' held Nigerians

Pro-government group attacks rally demanding release of 'illegally' held Nigerians
Policemen detain one of the suspected attackers of human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju, during a freedom rally in Abuja, Nigeria, on December 23, 2019.

Pro-government activists in Nigeria on Monday attacked civil society protesters who were demanding the release of people they say are illegally detained, a Reuters witness said.

About 60 attackers descended on the group of around 40 protesters outside the government’s National Human Rights Commission in the capital Abuja, sending them running for safety, Reuters reported.

The protesters were planning to deliver a list of demands to the commission, including the release of prisoners such as activist Omoyele Sowore, the founder of ‘Sahara Reporters,’ an online news organization.

The attackers targeted a leader of the group, Deji Adeyanju, and chased him before beating him. Police did not immediately intervene when the attack began.

A police spokesman did not immediately respond to calls and text messages.

Adeyanju, a human rights activist who was imprisoned for more than two months this year, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Isa Sanusi, a spokesman with Amnesty International, which helped organized the protests, said the incident showed that Nigerians “no longer have the right to come out and express themselves peacefully without being attacked.”

A government supporter, Ibrahim Kabiru Dala, said, “We are here to commend the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the security personnel ... we will not allow any other foreign mercenaries or opposition to come and sabotage the government.”



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