Cablegate: Mob Sets Police Post Ablaze - Abuja

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: On 6 January 2002, a police
post located at Apo Village, located
approximately 10 kilometers from the
Embassy, within the capital city of Abuja
was set ablaze by a protesting mob.

2. (U) Details: The local news reported
that the mob, numbering approximately 2,000,
besieged the police post and set fire to it
to protest the death of a suspected armed
robber in police custody. The suspect was
arrested with several others following a
report of a robbery in the area in late

3. (U) The Abuja Police Public Relations
Officer confirmed the incident. He said that
the police raided some criminal hideouts in
the village and arrested the deceased and
other members of his criminal gang. He added
that while in police custody, the deceased
became ill and was taken to a private clinic
where he was diagnosed as epileptic and
later died. He confirmed that no life was
lost in the fire but that police property
was destroyed. He stated that the Criminal
Investigations Division (CID) is
investigating and that the Police Command
would not relent in its effort to rid, not
only Apo Village of criminals but also the
entire capital city.

4. (SBU) Comment: Although this incident
was not directed against official U.S.
personnel, it is reported because it took
place within the Abuja center city. Apo
village is where the official residences of
Nigeria's national legislators are located.
The incident further demonstrates how
quickly violent mobs form in Nigeria and
documents the inability of police to
adequately protect objects of violent
protest, even when they are in the immediate
vicinity of VIP housing.


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