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This screen grab from a video that went viral on social media on March 28, 2020 shows a policeman whipping pedestrians accused of violating the curfew hours in Nairobi when Kenya declared a dusk to dawn curfew to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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21 police officers to face charges over rights violation in enforcing COVID-19 curfew

The charges on 15 police officers and 6 County enforcement officers attached to to Nambale sub-county in Busia were approved following an investigation by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21- The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has approved charges against 21 police officers accused of rights violations in enforcing the covid-19 night curfew in Kenya.

The charges on 15 police officers and 6 County enforcement officers attached to to Nambale sub-county in Busia were approved following an investigation by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).

“On finalizing of the investigations and upon independent review and concurrence with IPOA’s recommendations, the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that 15 Police Officers and 6 County enforcement officers attached to Nambale sub- county who were assigned police duties be charged in Court,” said Ann Makori, IPOA’s Chairperson.

“The Ward Commander who led the operation will also be charged with the additional offence of negligence in the discharge of official duty,” she said. The officers are set to take plea on February 1 in Bungoma.

She said IPOA’s investigation had established that the officers liable for causing actual bodily harm during assault, malicious damage to property and attempting to injure by an explosive substance.

The offences were committed in March, soon after Kenya detected the first case of the coronavirus.

The countrywide dusk-to-dawn curfew which begun on March 28 was marred with chaos, particularly in the initial weeks when police were accused of whipping citizens found outside after 7pm.

In early April, President Uhuru Kenyatta apologized publicly to Kenyans for the violence witnessed during curfew enforcement.

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“Officers are meant to serve people and protect them, not to enable the selfish few to endanger Kenyans, if you are not doing your job, you must realize there must be consequences,” he said when he issued his fourth national address on COVID 19.

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