Lagos locked down, army under scrutiny after civilians fired on

PUBLISHED: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:37:39 GMT

LAGOS (Reuters) – Police enforced a round-the-clock curfew in Nigeria’s biggest city on Wednesday a day after soldiers reportedly opened fire on civilians protesting against alleged police brutality. 

Fires burned across Lagos and residents of Ebute Mette, Lagos Island and Okota districts reported hearing gunfire on Wednesday as President Muhammadu Buhari appealed for “understanding and calm”.

Police – some armed, some wearing body armour and many in plain clothes – set up roadblocks in Lagos, witnesses said.

Tuesday night’s incident at a toll gate in Lekki district was the most serious yet in nearly two weeks of nationwide protests fueled by anger at alleged systematic abuses by police, although details of what happened and the number of casualties remained unclear.

The Lagos state governor said 30 people were hurt in the shooting at the gate, a focal point of the protests. One man had died in hospital from a blow to the head, he said, but it was not known if he was a protester.

The United Nations secretary-general said there had been “multiple deaths” and he urged authorities to de-escalate the situation. Amnesty International said it was investigating “credible but disturbing evidence” of excessive use of force in which protesters had been killed.

Four witnesses said soldiers had fired bullets and at least two people had been shot. Three witnesses said the gate’s lights were turned off before the shooting began. One said he saw soldiers remove bodies.

The Nigerian Army said no soldiers were at the scene.

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