Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Nigeria orders probe into 'brutal bus robbery'

Nigeria map

Nigeria's Senate has ordered an investigation into reports that the police failed to attend the scene of a brutal robbery, which left many dead.

Photographs of corpses littering the Lagos-Benin highway last week have been circulating on the internet and have been published by a local newspaper.

The victims were reportedly made to lie down in the road and then the bus driver ordered to run them over.

A police spokesman questioned why there was no outcry until the photos emerged.

Yemi Ajayi told Next newspaper that he was "puzzled" by the reports.

"We are already investigating the report. We have sent distress signal to the police command in Edo and Ondo States for adequate investigation to the story," he said.

The reports suggest that female passengers were raped by the gang.

"I could not even look at the pictures and when I looked at the pictures eventually, I lost my appetite," said Senator Ibrahim Ida.

"Where were the police? Where were the checkpoints?" he asked, reports Thisday newspaper.

The Senate held a minute's silence for those reportedly killed.

Armed robbery is common in Nigeria and the police have a poor reputation.

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