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Soldiers open fire on protesters in Lagos

IN DEFIANCE OF A CURFEW—Tens of thousands of people have been taking to the streets every day for nearly two weeks across Nigeria

Nigerian soldiers opened fire on demonstrators protesting against police brutality in Lagos and at least two people were shot, according to several witnesses, as authorities imposed a curfew and promised an investigation.

Four witnesses told Reuters news agency that soldiers fired at the protesters who had gathered in the Lekki district of Nigeria’s largest city in defiance of an indefinite curfew imposed hours earlier by the authorities.

Hundreds of people were at the site at the time of the shooting, which witnesses said took place around 7pm (18:00 GMT).

“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.

Inyene Akpan, 26, a photographer, said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the toll gate in Lekki and opened fire. He said he saw two people being shot. Akinbosola Ogunsanya, a third witness, also told Reuters he saw soldiers remove bodies.

Scenes of protesters removing a bullet from someone’s wound and pleading for help were broadcast in a live video on Instagram by DJ Switch, a popular disc jockey.

Amnesty International said 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”.

Another witness, Chika Dibia, said soldiers hemmed in people as they shot at them.

Video verified by Reuters showed men walking slowly in formation toward demonstrators, followed by trucks with flashing lights, and the sound of gunfire popping. Another video showed the toll gate itself, with a protester waving a Nigerian flag, as people ran amid the sound of gunfire.

In a Twitter post, the Nigerian Army said no soldiers were at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday night.

The announcements have not satisfied the protesters, who see the changes as nothing but a renaming exercise. On Monday, Amnesty said at least 15 people have been killed since the demonstrations began.—AL JAZEERA

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