Africa

Coronavirus in Kenya: Police kill three in motorcycle taxi protest

Kenyan police Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kenyan police have been accused of using excessive force to enforce coronavirus restrictions

Kenyan police have killed three people when a crowd of motorcycle taxi drivers protested against the arrest of a colleague for ignoring coronavirus restrictions.

Police shot at the crowd in the western city of Lessos after clashes, a police statement said.

The police have ordered the arrest of the officers involved.

Kenyan police face increasing scrutiny over accusations they are excessively enforcing the coronavirus restrictions.

How did the shooting happen?

A cobbler reportedly tried to intervene when police were harassing a motorbike taxi driver for not wearing a mask, reports the Standard newspaper.

The Daily Nation newspaper adds that the police were arguing over a bribe of 50 Kenyan shillings ($0.50; £0.40).

The police then shot dead the cobbler, named as 40-year-old Lazarus Kirop.

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Media caption"The police are killing us, not coronavirus"

The crowd started protesting against Mr Kirop's death.

Hundreds of villagers followed the police back to their police station and set alight a police officer's house, reports the Daily Nation.

The police statement says two more people were then shot dead.

How many have been killed since the curfew was imposed?

It goes on to say that the police intend to take "stern disciplinary action against any other officer found culpable".

A night-time curfew was introduced at the end of March, along with other measures, in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The Kenyan police watchdog said at the beginning of June that at least 15 people had been killed by police during the nationwide curfew.

On Tuesday a policeman was charged with the murder of 13-year-old Yasin Moyo, who was shot as he stood on a balcony in March watching police enforce a night-time curfew.

At the beginning of June, while people across the world protested against the killing of George Floyd in the US, Kenyans also protested about police brutality in their own country - carrying empty coffins through the streets of the capital, Nairobi.

Kenya has 5,384 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 132 people have died.

Long before the coronavirus restrictions came in, Kenya's police were often accused of brutality - Human Rights Watch said that during the 2017 election campaign, police officers beat and killed opposition supporters.

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