Nigerian army admits to having live rounds at Lekki Toll Gate, despite previous denials

“The soldiers they were both given both live and blank bullets. In this particular case, we saw that these protests had been infiltrated by some hoodlums,” Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo mentioned in his testimony to the Lagos Judicial panel of inquiry into the incident.

“You had peaceful protesters no doubt. But there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage. That is why they were armed (with) blank bullets in addition to the live (bullets) they were carrying.”

This is the primary time the Nigerian army has admitted having live rounds at the Lekki toll gate. The army assertion additionally contradicts previous statements concerning the incident together with from Taiwo himself who informed the judicial panel beforehand that the troopers have been firing within the air and firing clean ammunition.

In the aftermath of the taking pictures, the army denied any involvement, describing reviews of the incident as “fake news,” earlier than backtracking and saying that troopers have been current however fired their weapons within the air and used blanks, not live rounds.

The CNN investigation included proof that bullet casings from the scene matched these utilized by the Nigerian army when taking pictures live rounds, in accordance to present and former Nigerian army officers.

Two ballistics specialists additionally confirmed with CNN that the form of the bullet casings point out they used live rounds, which contradicts the army’s previous declare they fired blanks.

CNN’s report was primarily based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photographs and video obtained and geolocated by CNN. The Nigerian army didn’t reply to quite a few requests for remark prior to the printed and publication of CNN’s story.

Verified video footage — utilizing timestamps and knowledge from the video recordsdata — exhibits troopers who seem to be taking pictures within the course of protesters. And accounts from eyewitnesses set up that after the army withdrew, a second spherical of taking pictures occurred later within the night, by police, in accordance to witnesses who spoke to CNN.

The police wouldn’t remark to CNN, however did deny ever taking pictures at protesters in a tweet.

It painted an image of how members of the Nigerian army and the police shot at the group, killing at least one individual and wounding dozens extra.

Read and watch CNN's full investigation

Saturday’s admission by Nigeria that live rounds have been deployed is one more in a collection of regularly altering narratives as to what occurred on October 20 at Lekki toll gate, the place protesters had gathered to show in opposition to police brutality.

On Thursday, Minister for Information and Culture Lai Mohammed mentioned that the army “fired blank ammunition in the air.” He additionally dismissed the CNN investigation as “fake news” and “misinformation.”

A US State Department spokesperson informed CNN on Saturday, that they have been “closely following the Government of Nigeria’s response” to the occasions at Lekki Toll Gate and mentioned, “We urge that the investigation be thorough, impartial, and appropriately transparent and that perpetrators be held accountable.”

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