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How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement

November 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The army and police claim they did not fire into the crowds at the Lekki toll gate protest last month in Lagos, Nigeria. So where are the missing demonstrators?

The person on the other end of the line -- a stranger -- broke the news that Ibanga's brother, Victor, had been shot dead at the Lekki toll gate, in Lagos, Nigeria, where he had been peacefully protesting against police brutality earlier that night.

An eyewitness to Victor Sunday Ibanga's death told CNN the 27-year-old entrepreneur was shot in the head during the protest.

The Ibangas are one of several families yet to locate the bodies of their missing loved ones -- protestors at the toll gate -- who dozens of eyewitnesses say were shot at, first by members of the Nigerian army and then hours later by police.

Eyewitnesses told CNN they saw the army remove a number of bodies from the scene.

The protesters who were present have told CNN it was a "massacre" with multiple people killed and dozens wounded.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitted to CNN that footage showed uniformed soldiers firing on peaceful protesters but claimed only two demonstrators were killed.

The shootings at Lekki toll gate followed weeks of "#EndSARS" protests against police brutality that had burst onto the streets of cities across Nigeria.

Testimony from dozens of eyewitnesses and family members interviewed by CNN and a forensic examination of hours of video and dozens of photographs captured before, during and after the two shooting incidents show how a fledgling protest movement was all but extinguished by the very thing Nigerians were demonstrating against.

Less than three hours after the original curfew time came into effect, army trucks left the Bonny Camp barracks on Victoria Island and headed towards the toll gate plaza and the protesters, according to videos reviewed by CNN.

Videos examined by CNN show the army trucks approaching the protesters from both sides of the toll gate -- barricading them in.

From multiple videos, CNN has pieced together a timeline that shows that shooting by the army lasted from 6:43 p. m. until at least 8:24 p. m. , according to video evidence.

One eyewitness, Sarah, whose last name we're not publishing for her safety, told CNN that the soldiers shot in the air but also directly at protesters.

Injured people whom CNN has confirmed were present at the toll gate started arriving in local hospitals -- carried by civilians -- from 7:19 p. m. while the shooting was still ongoing, according to videos analyzed by CNN.

DJ Switch told CNN that protesters lifted bodies with bullet wounds and put them at the soldiers' feet.

After the army withdrew from the scene, members of the police, including the SARS police unit -- disbanded by authorities on 11 October -- moved in, according to multiple eyewitnesses CNN spoke with.

In a video obtained by CNN and geolocated to Lekki toll gate at 2:36 a. m. , one eyewitness, Legend, whose second name we're not publishing for his safety, can be seen with the Nigerian flag around his head saying, ". . . my hand is broken, my leg is broken, and police are still shooting at us. "

About 200 protesters remained at the toll gate when witnesses say police and SARS arrived, he added.

While CNN has not been able to independently verify that SARS members were present, multiple eyewitnesses said they saw police officers, accompanied by officers from the unit, at the scene after the army left.

The widespread looting and damage that occurred across Lagos in the aftermath of the Lekki toll gate shooting has led to the authorities clamping down on people who took part in the protests.

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