Thursday, February 22, 2024

Despite brutality, UK government trained, supplied equipment to SARS: Report

A UK parliamentarian vows to hold her government to account for supporting a notorious unit like SARS in Nigeria.

• October 29, 2020
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

The United Kingdom was a major supplier of equipment to the brutal police special anti-robbery squad, SARS. 

The squad was abolished on October 11 following nationwide uproar. Before then, SARS officers spent years extorting, intimidating, harming and killing citizens with little checks from federal authorities.

After initial denials, the UK government has now admitted that the country supplied equipment and trained SARS officers. It was not immediately clear the quantity of equipment supplied, but deliveries included radio communication gadgets.

James Duddridge, UK minister for Africa in a letter to Labour parliamentarian Kate Osamor, said the minister SARS officers received support “designed to improve human rights, training on public finance, and community policing workshops,” The Independent reported Thursday.

Ms. Osamor had requested information about whether or not her government provided support to SARS. She expressed her disappointment about the development.

“It is shocking that in the middle of global protests to End SARS our government appears to have had no idea whether or not it was funding those very units,” The Independent quoted Ms. Osamor as saying in an interview. 

Ms. Osamor said she would press further to hold the government to account for supporting a notorious unit like SARS.

 “The government now needs to explain how and why it ever felt it was appropriate to train and equip security forces which were known to have taken part in torture and extra-judicial killings,” the lawmaker said.

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