One shot dead, many wounded in Nigeria fuel protests

Mon Jan 9, 2012 2:20pm GMT

By Chijioke Ohuocha

LAGOS (Reuters) - Police shot dead one protester and wounded nearly two dozen as thousands of Nigerians demonstrated against the axing of fuel subsidies in Africa's top oil producing nation on Monday and unions launched an indefinite nationwide strike.

Police also fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters in the northern city of Kano, wounding at least 18 people, the Red Cross said.

Angry residents in Ogba, a rundown iron-roof suburb of the main commercial city of Lagos, where the man was shot dead, said police had fired on a crowd to disperse it.

At the hospital, where the man's body had been transferred to the mortuary, three protesters lay waiting to be treated for gunshot wounds to the leg, a Reuters reporter there said.

"There were about seven policemen shooting in the air to try to disperse protesters ... The DPO (police chief) opened fire targeting these four people and shot them," said Dickson Oracle, who witnessed the shooting in Ogba.

"One died on the spot because he sustained serious bullet wounds and the remaining have been brought to the hospital."

Shops, banks and petrol stations were shut in Lagos, and the network of highways and bridges stretching over its wide lagoon, usually clogged with traffic at all hours, were empty.

Production of Nigeria's average two million barrels of crude oil a day carried on as normal despite the strike, sources at two international oil companies and the state firm told Reuters.   Continued...

A member of the Nigerian Bar Association holds up a placard to protest a fuel subsidy removal in Lagos January 5, 2012.  REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
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