Police Officers and Military Personnel Deployed

Mar 31, 2020

As of 30 March 2020, police officers and military personnel have deployed in countries throughout Africa, in some areas using force to ensure compliance with measures implemented to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). For example, on the morning of 28 March police officers clashed with local residents in the central business district of Johannesburg. Violence broke out after hundreds of people gathered outside a grocery store in the Yeoville neighborhood. Police officers fired rubber bullets at crowd members not observing social distancing procedures. Following the initial clashes, police officers used whips to further enforce lockdown regulations. An unspecified number of people were injured. Additionally, on 27 March similar clashes occurred after police officers spotted several residents loitering outside of their homes. Police officers used rubber bullets to clear individuals along the streets in Johannesburg. A 21-day lockdown has been in effect since 26 March and is scheduled to last until 16 April. Thus far, there have been 1,280 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa.

Meanwhile in Kenya, on 27 March security forces used tear gas and batons to disperse people disobeying curfew orders in Mombasa. Dozens of people were attempting to board a ferry ahead of the curfew, but were delayed due to the restrictive measures, including new limitations on ferry capacity to allow for social distancing. There were no reports of serious injuries as a result of the clashes. Thus far, Kenya has at least 42 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Additional such clashes are likely to occur throughout the region as police officers and military personnel enforce lockdowns, curfews and other measures.

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