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Multiple posts shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook claim to show a group of Nigerian soldiers who killed peaceful protesters during anti-police brutality protests in Lagos. This is false: the people in the picture allegedly posed as soldiers from the Nigerian army and were arrested in an operation months before the protests.

Multiple posts shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook claim to show a group of Nigerian soldiers who killed peaceful protesters during anti-police brutality protests in Lagos. This is false: the people in the picture allegedly posed as soldiers from the Nigerian army and were arrested in an operation months before the protests.

“These are the animals that killed a lot of people in toll gate,” claims one post that has been shared more than 10,000 times and is archived here.

The image shows a number of individuals, most wearing some form of army fatigues, standing in a line in front of a wall.

The “toll gate” mentioned in the post refers to the Lekki Toll in Lagos.

Lekki Toll-Gate Shooting: Meet Francis Omata, The Commander Who Is  Allegedly Behind The Massacre (PHOTOS)

Protest background 

Protests erupted in Nigeria in early October after a video of a man allegedly being killed by police went viral the month before. The rallies continued despite the dismantling of the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit and promises of government reform.

The unrest worsened after soldiers opened fire on a large crowd at the Lekki Toll on October 20, 2020. The shooting has drawn international condemnation and boosted the global spread of the #EndSARS hashtag on Twitter. You can read AFP’s report about the unrest here.

Since the Lekki incident, numerous posts have been making the rounds claiming to show the bodies of protesters killed at the rally. AFP Fact Check looked into some of the viral images and found them to have been unrelated to the protests. You can read our fact checks here and here.

Image does not show soldiers from Lekki protest

Likewise, the image of men dressed in Nigerian army uniforms does not show soldiers involved in the Lekki shooting and is unrelated to the protests. 

We ran multiple reverse image searches and found that the picture had been on the internet since May 2020.

Reports in local media said the people in the picture were arrested in southwest Nigeria in May for impersonating Nigerian soldiers. These arrests, and others in April, formed part of the army’s “Operation Checkmate”, set up to investigate criminal activities within the force.

Who gave the order for the shootings and massacre at Lekki toll gate? -  Clacified

Lekki aftermath

Amnesty International says “at least 12 peaceful protesters” were killed in central Lagos on October 20, 2020, and 56 people have died overall since the demonstrations started.

Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said a special commission has been set up to investigate the Lekki shooting, including CCTV footage of the attack.

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