Rihanna has said her “heart is broken for Nigeria” after reports emerged that soldiers had opened fire on a group of peaceful #EndSARS protesters in Lagos.
The Barbadian singer led the celebrity reaction to the incident, which took place in the evening of 20 October.
Amnesty International said it had received credible reports of deaths resulting from “excessive use of force” on protesters gathering at the Lekki Toll Gate area of Lagos State.
A witness told the BBC he had counted around 20 bodies and at least 50 people injured.
Video broadcast on Nigeria’s Channels TV appeared to capture audio of shots being fired at the scene.
Authorities in Lagos said the state government had ordered an investigation into the incident.
Reports of deaths came just hours after Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu warned the growing protests against police brutality had “degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society”.
The protests began two weeks ago after a video circulated showing a man being beaten, apparently by police officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS.
“I can’t bear to see this torture and brutalisation that is continuing to affect nations across our planet,” Rihanna said in a post on social media.
“It is such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by. My heart is broken for Nigeria. It is unbearable to watch.”
She also praised Nigerians for the courage in the face of violence and brutality.
“I’m so proud of your strength and for not letting up on the fight for what is right. #EndSARS,” she said.