Nigeria student dead after troops fire at protest

One person was killed and nine were injured after troops fired live rounds to disperse a student protest. Photo / Thinkstock
One person was killed and nine were injured after troops fired live rounds to disperse a student protest. Photo / Thinkstock

Nigerian soldiers fired live rounds to disperse a university student protest, killing one student and injuring nine.

Police spokesman Michael Ada in central Nasarawa state, where the demonstration occurred on Monday, would not confirm the circumstances that led to the casualties, including whether the troops fired directly on the protesters.

"One student died and nine others were injured when soldiers fired shots to disperse protesting students of the Nassarawa State University in Keffi," Ada told AFP.

"The students went on rampage, protesting the lack of water and electric power supply to the university campus. Soldiers later came in and students pelted them with stones and (the soldiers) fired shots," he added.

The university registrar, Dalhatu Mamman, explained that the students had staged their protest on a nearby highway.

The soldiers had not been called to the scene by officials or police, but decided to intervene after passing by during regular patrols, according to Mamman.

Police had tried to pacify the students before the soldiers arrived but "all frantic efforts to get them off the highway failed," he said.

"In the course of their normal patrol (a military unit) saw the chaos on the federal highway and decided to clear the road. Students began to throw pebbles and it led to some shooting. Some students were wounded," he continued.

He added that while he had heard reports of deaths, he could not confirm that those killed were students.

The university has been closed indefinitely, the registrar said.

Nigeria's security forces have repeatedly been accused of using excessive force, including to stamp out protests.

- AFP

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