Nigerian soldiers fired shots “into the air” to disperse #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on October 20, the U.S. Department of State said.
The department gave its assessment about the controversial shooting incident, called a massacre in Nigeria, in the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Nigeria.
The report was released by the department on Tuesday.
Its position contradicted claims by the media and #EndSARS activists that soldiers fired live bullets at the protesters.
Although Amnesty International reported that 10 persons died during the incident, the US State Department said there is no “accurate information” on the fatalities.
“On Oct. 20, members of the security forces enforced curfew by firing shots into the air to disperse protesters, who had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos to protest abusive practices by the Nigerian Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“Accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available at year’s end.
“Amnesty International reported 10 persons died during the event, but the government disputed Amnesty’s report, and no other organisation was able to verify the claim.
“The government reported two deaths connected to the event. One body from the toll gate showed signs of blunt force trauma.
“A second body from another location in Lagos State had bullet wounds.
“The government acknowledged that soldiers armed with live ammunition were present at the Lekki Toll Gate,” part of the report stated.