04:12 GMT02 December 2020
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    According to multiple media reports, shots were fired at Nigerians protesting police brutality in the Lekki district of Lagos on Tuesday evening, shortly after a 24-hour curfew kicked in. The protests have been ongoing for almost two weeks, starting with calls to disband the country's SARS police unit.

    On Tuesday, Nigeria's Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, ordered an investigation into "reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza, following the 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos State to stop criminals who hid under the #EndSARS protests to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens", according to a tweet from Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos state Commissioner for Information.

    Omotoso argued that the Lagos governor "advised the security agents not to arrest anyone on account of the curfew, which he urges residents to observe for the peaceful atmosphere we all cherish", noting that "The Governor will do everything within his power to ensure that the lives of all Lagosians are protected at all times".

    Shortly after ordering the investigation, the governor tweeted that he had visited "hospitals with victims of this unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki", noting that "This is the toughest night of our lives, as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history, but we will face it and come out stronger".​

    ​Sanwo-Olu specified the number of victims, and vowed to give a state broadcast on the incident in the morning.

    The governor's statements follow multiple media reports citing eyewitness testimonies claiming that shots were fired against anti-police brutality protesters gathered at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos on Tuesday evening. Some reports suggested, citing eyewitnesses, that the gunmen were Nigerian soldiers, while others could not identify who had fired the shots.

    According to Reuters, citing three witnesses, at least two protesters in Lekki were shot by soldiers.

    "They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd," security officer Alfred Ononugbo said, cited by Reuters. "I saw the bullet hit one or two persons".

    Another witness, photographer Inyene Akpan, said, cited by Reuters, that over 20 soldiers arrived at the scene, opened fire and hit two people.

    According to AFP, citing four witnesses, unidentified armed men opened fire on a crowd of a "thousand people" on Tuesday evening. Despite the fact that the demonstration was held in defiance of the curfew, it was peaceful, with protesters singing the national anthem, AFP reported.

    The curfew was imposed earlier by the governor, who argued that "what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society".

    Following initial reports about the shooting, Amnesty International Nigeria tweeted that they had "received credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos".

    ​A series of tweets with screenshots of media headlines about the Nigerian army killing protesters emerged on the official Twitter account of the Nigerian Army that labelled the many reports as "FAKE NEWS".

    ​Nationwide protests in Nigeria ignited after numerous reports accused the country's Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit of killings, torture and blackmail. The unit was disbanded by authorities on 11 October and replaced by a Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) squad. The demonstrations have continued against police brutality.

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    Tags:
    shooting, police, SWAT, protest, Lagos, Nigeria
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