Nigeria covering up Army killing of #endsars protesters, says Amnesty International
Nigerian authorities must stop their attempts to cover up the army’s fatal shooting of unarmed protesters last week in the country’s commercial hub, Lagos, rights group Amnesty International said.
“The initial denials of the involvement of soldiers in the shooting was followed by the shameful denial of the loss of lives as a result of the military’s attack against the protests,” Amnesty’s Nigeria spokesman Isa Sanusi said Wednesday in an emailed statement.
“Many people are still missing since the day of the incident, and credible evidence shows that the military prevented ambulances from reaching the severely injured in the aftermath.”
The army said though it was invited to help enforce a curfew, it had no involvement in the Oct. 20 shooting at one of the protest sites set up by young people during two weeks of demonstrations against police brutality, contradicting eye witness accounts.
Amnesty International said its investigations established that military vehicles left the Bonny Camp base in Lagos at 6:29 p.m. on the day in question and arrived at the protest site where troops opened fire at “approximately 6.45 p.m.”
In a statement by Acting Director Public Relations of the 81 Division, Olaniyi Osoba, a Major said soldiers were involved in restoration order in the state on the invitation of the state government but denied shooting at the protesters.
“At no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any civilian. From the onset of the ENDSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army Lagos were involved.
“However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government (LASG) after a 24 hours curfew was imposed. This was as a result of the violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away.
“The situation was fast degenerating into anarchy. It was at this point that LASG requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy. The intervention of the military followed all laid down procedures for Internal Security operations and all the soldiers involved acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Internal Security operations.
“Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army reiterates Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities did not shoot at any civilian as there are glaring and convincing evidence to attest to this fact.
“This allegation is the hand work of mischief-makers who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army. The general public is hereby enjoined to discountenance this allegation as there is no iota of truth therein,” he said.
~With Bloomberg report