Clashes between police forces and protesters have occurred in the central town of Save (Collines Department) on Wednesday, January 15, following a police operation in the area to arrest those involved in violent protests on Thursday, January 9. According to the local Court Prosecutor, two civilians were killed and six police officers seriously injured following an exchange of gunfire. Six people were also arrested following the incident.
Tensions remain high in the area and further disruptive demonstrations are possible in the coming days. A heightened security presence is expected to continue and additional clashes between protesters and police officers cannot be ruled out.
Sociopolitical tensions are high in Benin after election-related demonstrations and unrest began following the April 28, 2019 legislative elections. In May 2019, Save was the scene of violent protests between local residents and security forces. Related violent protests erupted in Save on January 9, following the arrest of a local resident suspected to be involved in the May 2019 unrests. Participants erected barricades and blocked the interstate Cotonou-Parakou road for several hours before the road was reopened to traffic.
Individuals in Save are advised to exercise caution and maintain a low profile at all times, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and obey any instructions issued by the local authorities.