According to witnesses, soldiers opened fire on demonstrators who had gathered at the protest site in Lagos, the center of a mass demonstration against police brutality in Nigeria.
Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday that it had received credible but worrying evidence about the excessive use of force that led to the deaths of protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, adding that they were investigating the killings.
Three eyewitnesses told Reuters that soldiers opened fire on protesters gathered in the Lekki area of Nigeria’s largest city, despite an indefinite curfew hours earlier by the authorities. Hundreds of people were there during the shooting, which occurred at around 19:00 (18:00 GMT), according to eye witnesses.
Inyene Akpan, a 26-year-old photographer, said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the Leki toll gate and opened fire. He said he saw two people being shot. A third witness, Akinbosola Ogunsanya, also told Reuters that he saw soldiers removing bodies.
A live Instagram video from DJ Switch, a popular disc jockey, shows a scene of protesters pulling bullets from someone’s wound and asking for help. Gunshots and sirens can be heard on videos recorded near the toll gate.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu claims criminals hijacked the protests to unleash chaos. He announced the curfew during a statement.
When the 24-hour restrictions took effect at 4 p.m. (15:00 GMT), protesters in Lagos sang the national anthem and promised to stay on the streets.
Separately on Tuesday, the national police chief ordered the immediate deployment of anit-riot forces across the country after attacks on police facilities intensified, a police spokesman said.
In Nigeria, tens of thousands of people take to the streets every day for nearly two weeks to call for an end to police violence.
The protests, organized under the hashtag #EndSARS, began with calls to dismiss the notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has long been accused of extortion, torture and extrajudicial killings.
On Monday, Amnesty said at least 15 people had died since the demonstrations began.