Brutal Lockdown Enforcement May Backfire

Police are brutally enforcing lockdowns and curfews in several African countries, Deutsche Welle reports.

The approach could backfire and lead to unrest that countries can ill afford while they're trying to fight COVID-19, human rights groups warn.

Security forces have killed at least 18 civilians while trying to enforce the state-imposed lockdown, Nigeria's Human Rights Commission reports. That was more than the number of Nigerians killed by COVID-19 at the time of their statement. (This morning, the country reports 28 deaths and 873 cases).

“We think this is a shame and outrageous that coronavirus didn't kill Nigerians, but security agents are killing Nigerians,” says Auwal Musa Rafsanjani of the Abuja Civil Society Legislative Advocacy.

Human Rights Watch yesterday accused Kenyan police attacking curfew breakers by beating, kicking and tear gassing people. At least 6 were killed.

In South Africa, at least 8 deaths and 200 reports of police brutality have been recorded, including soldiers kicking people and forcing them to frog-march home. 

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