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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 16:35 GMT
Hundreds of Nigerian robbers shot
Nigerian police
Nigeria's police have a history of violence
Nigeria's police chief Mike Okiro has admitted that 785 suspected armed robbers have died in encounters with police in the last three months.

The Nigerian police force has been criticised by human rights groups for killing suspects instead of arresting them and giving them a fair trial.

But Mr Okiro said almost 1,600 suspected armed robbers had also been arrested and charged in that time.

He took over as acting police inspector general just over 100 days ago.

Funding call

To mark the anniversary, Mr Okiro paraded a crack squad of about 50 police officers in front of reporters on Thursday at police headquarters in the capital, Abuja.

Mike Okiro (Picture from: www.nigeriapolice.org)
Mr Okiro has been in office for just over 100 days

He said they were responsible for the crackdown on crime mainly witnessed in north-eastern Nigeria.

A police spokesman told the BBC that 62 officers had also lost their lives when taking on suspected armed robbers.

As part of his anti-corruption crusade, Mr Okiro said 28 police officers caught collecting bribes on the roads had been dismissed during his time in office.

Speaking to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, he called for $26m of outstanding state funding to be paid to the police.

He said the force was in dire need of accommodation for its more than 360,000 personnel, Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper reports.

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