Rwandan police shot and killed two people for defying lockdown orders on Wednesday, as the East African nation attempts to halt the spread of the Chinese coronavirus within its borders.
The two men fatally shot had attacked officers while on a routine patrol, according to Rwandan police. The “deceased attacked and wrestled to the ground a police officer who was on routine patrol,” Rwanda National Police said via Twitter on Wednesday. “This prompted his colleague to fire at the attackers in self-defense.”
Over the weekend, Rwanda became the first African country to order a total lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. Implementing a two-week shutdown on Sunday, the country has closed its borders completely, allowing only goods, cargo, and returning citizens to pass through. Upon arrival, returning travelers will be quarantined for two weeks.
Travel between towns and cities has been blocked. People have been asked to remain indoors, with all unnecessary movements outside homes forbidden for the 14-day period. These restrictions are reportedly among the most rigid in Africa.
Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, who has been in power since 1994, has been accused of ruling with an iron fist, clamping down on all forms of dissent and jailing or exiling opposition politicians.
Human Rights Watch, among other rights watchdogs, has accused Kagame’s regime of summary executions, unlawful arrest, and detention and torture in custody.
At press time Thursday, Rwanda had 41 confirmed cases of Chinese coronavirus and no deaths.