COVID-19 and the lockdown have bred anxiety, disease and death. Approximately 20 percent of the world have implemented measures to restrict movement to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Instead of protecting people, some African countries have come down hard on citizens, by using excessive force. Here people are not dying from COVID-19. They are dying at the hands of the police. 

South Africa

Petrus “Pietman” Miggels (55)

On 27 March Miggels was stopped by 2 police officers in the street in Ravensmead, Western Cape. He was holding a few beers he had illegally purchased. The officer walked up to Miggels and tried to pry the packet from his hand. When Miggels did not let go, the officer started to hit his knuckles with the hammer.  Miggels was shocked and kept quiet.  The police wanted Miggels to disclose where he had bought the beer. A second police officer had gotten out of the passenger side of the police car and grabbed Miggels, dragged him toward the vehicle and forced him into the front seat. The officers got back into the car and drove away. It is not clear what happened in the vehicle. But a short while later Miggels was dropped off close to where he had been picked up. He walked to his house on Carnation Road. He died outside his house within the hour.  The Independent Police Investigative Directorate closed the Miggels case after an autopsy found that he died of “heart failure”.

Sibusiso Amos (40)

On 29 March Amos and others were drinking alcohol outside which was against lockdown rules. This caused a street altercation with police.  A police officer and a security officer followed him and shot him at close range several times.  

Police brutality in Africa during COVID-19 | Sibusiso Amos


Adane Emmanuel 

On 2 April (Isipingo) police were conducting patrols in the area as per the regulations of the national lockdown.  Police accused Emmanuel of selling cigarettes (which is illegal under lockdown rules) – a claim he denied.  An altercation ensued with the police, Adane and his brother.  The police severely assaulted Adane, arrested him and kept him in police custody for 2 hours and later released on bail. The police drove him to a clinic where he died.  

Elma Robyn Montsumi (39)

On 9 April Montsumi was arrested for drug possession. It is still unclear the turn of events that lead to her death.  She was supposed to be released on bail in terms of the lockdown regulations but that did not happen.  While she was in police custody, she was taken to a hospital where she died.

Police brutality in Africa during COVID-19 lockdown | Elma Robyn Montsumi

Collins Khosa (40)

On 11 April Khosa was assaulted by members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in Alexandra, Johannesburg. He subsequently died from the encounter. According to his neighbour they were drinking in their yard when a soldier asked them why they were drinking and were not inside the house. More soldiers reportedly came and they assaulted the men. The family said Khosa was strangled, slammed against a cement wall and a steel gate and hit with the butt of the machine gun. Afterwards, he could not walk, began to vomit and lost speech. The post mortem described the cause of death as a blunt force head injury.

Police brutality in Africa during COVID-19 lockdown | Collins Khosa

During the 2-month lockdown, 12 people died in police action (11 black men and 1 black woman), 152 assault cases, five corruption cases and 37 complaints of shootings related to police lockdown enforcement in South Africa.


Calvin Omondi (23)

Motorcycle taxi driver, Omondi was returning home at around 7pm, the beginning of national curfew, when he was approached by a group of police officers in Homa Bay (27 March).   The officers attacked him, causing him to lose control of his motorcycle. He died from injuries from the attack.  

Hamisi Juma Mbega (49)

On 28 March, just before 7pm, Mbega volunteered to take a pregnant woman in labour to Mwahima hospital.   On his way back to his house in Zibani village, a group of police officers threw teargas at him. They beat him to death with rifles and gun butts.  

Yassin Hussein Moyo (13)

Around midnight on 31 March in Nairobi, Moyo was on his apartment balcony when police shot him in the stomach.    He died next to his siblings.

Police killing in Africa during COVID-19 lockdown | Yassin Hussein Moyo

Idris Mukolwe (45)

On 1 April police enforcing a ban on the open-air market in Mumias.  Police threw a teargas canister at tomato vendor, Idris Mukolwe and exploded in his face. He passed away from the brutal assault.

Eric Ng’ethe Waithugi (23)

Accountant Waithugi was at work when curfew time was approaching (1 April).  He and a few men decided to lock themselves in a nearby pub. Police broke down the pub door and threw canisters of teargas. The police officers beat eleven people in the pub. They beat Waithugi to death with wooden clubs.

Yusuf Ramadhan Juma (35)

Juma left his house on the evening of 1 April in Kakamega County.  He had a mental disability.  His family found his severely battered body the next day.


Tina Ezekwe (17)

Police officers were enforcing lockdown curfew at the end of the Third Mainland Bridge when they shot at a bus driver.  Ezekwe, a passenger, was shot and died from the injuries.


Paul Munakopa (34) 

On 23 May Munakopa was killed by police during a high-speed chase in Hillside suburb, Bulawayo.  Munakopa was with his fiancé, Tracy Mufudzi.  Mufudzi says they were followed by a white car.  The car did not indicate they were police.  The unidentified car blocked Munakopa’s, he tried to reverse to escape.  Two men came out the car and opened fire.  The car lost control and drove into a trench.  Unfortunately Munakopa succumbed to injuries and passed away.

Police killing in Africa during COVID-19 lockdown | Paul Munakopa

Injustice to one is injustice to all.

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