Soldiers opened fire on peaceful, unarmed protesters in Lagos State, Nigeria, more than 17 people have been reportedly killed and many more wounded.
A video that began circulating in early October allegedly showing SARS here officers shooting a man in the southern Delta state triggered the weeks-long protests. The police denied the shooting.
On Oct. 11, SARS was disbanded, but protests continued.
The protesters marched against police brutality in the country and the attack targets a section of the movement at the Lekki district of the commercial capital of Lagos on Tuesday after men in uniform arrived at the scene at about 6:45 pm WAT.
Earlier on Tuesday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state claimed that, as he declared the curfew, criminals had hijacked the protest movement “to cause anarchy.”
At 4 pm (15:00 GMT), as the round-the-clock restrictions came into effect, demonstrators in Lagos sang the national anthem and vowed to stay on the streets.
A photographer, Inyene Akpan, 26, said that more than 20 soldiers arrived at the Lekki toll gate and opened fire. He said he saw two individuals being targeted.
Another witness, Akinbosola Ogunsanya, said he saw about 10 people being shot. He also said that he saw troops remove bodies. This could be an attempt to cover the killings.
Forsige confirmed that some unknown officials moved to disable all Surveillance footage linked to the scene before the attack on the demonstrators, and all street lights took off a few minutes to the assault.
An Instagram live-streamed video by DJswitch, a popular disc jockey, who was live on scenes showed people running in near darkness, with people being gunned down while other sustained bullet injuries unattended to and the sound of what seemed to be gunshots.
A Nigerian army spokesman did not respond immediately to requests for comment, nor did the government of the States indicate anything about the attacks.
But there have been claims that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is having a closed-door meeting with the country’s security chiefs at the time this report is being prepared.
In Lagos, Africa’s largest city, the toll gate in the upmarket Lekki district has been the site of regular protests.
For almost two weeks, thousands of Nigerians have protested here nationwide every day against a police force, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that rights activists have been accused of extorting, threatening, torturing, and murdering for years.
Amnesty International also said in a statement on Tuesday it had received “credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos”, adding that it was investigating “the killings”.
In the Victoria Island region of Lagos, a doctor at the private Reddington Hospital said people were being treated for gunshot wounds.
The number of people being treated was not defined by the doctor, who did not want to be named.