Soldiers have reportedly opened fire at people protesting against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, shortly after a 24-hour curfew was imposed in the city over the escalating demonstrations.
Gunfire and sirens were heard in the Lekki district of Nigeria’s financial capital, witnesses told Reuters.
Though there have been no official reports of fatalities or injuries, some locals shared graphic footage on social media of blood-soaked garments and flags.
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd. I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” one local security officer said. A photographer, who worked at the scene, reported seeing two people being shot.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu introduced a 24-hour curfew for an indefinite period after a police station was set alight, saying that the two-week-long protests in the city have “degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society.”
Watching these videos is a major heartbreak for me personally and as Governor, I cannot watch as arsonists, hoodlums and anarchists continue to hide under the #EndSars protest to unleash mayhem on the State and wantonly disrupt citizens lives and property. pic.twitter.com/aTJgzApIWL
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) October 20, 2020
A spokesperson for the governor later said an investigation had been ordered into the reports of shootings.
The curfew was apparently ignored by the demonstrators, angry over the behavior of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit accused of widespread corruption that includes kidnapping, harassment and extortion.
SARS was disbanded earlier in October, but people in Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria are demanding more protections from possible police brutality, including independent oversight for law enforcement and psychological evaluations of servicemen.
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