2,000 arrested for breaking curfew rules

Monday, November 9th, 2020 00:00 |

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Over 2,000 people were arrested after a weekend raid, mostly in nightclubs, for violating the countrywide curfew regulations. 

National Police Service spokesperson Charles Owino yesterday said the operation will continue until further notice, adding that some 100 affected bars and restaurants have been notified of intended closure and revocation of their licences. 

Despite the surge in corona infections and deaths, Kenyans continue to violate virus guidelines aimed at flattening the curve with reckless abandon. 

 “We have to be proactive to enhance patrols and ensure clubs are closed on time. We will not wait until they lock themselves inside those bars.

We have also come up with other preventive measures to minimise cases of arrest,” Owino said. 

The raid follows Wednesday’s directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta who asked the Ministry of Interior to constitute a Special Enforcement Unit made up of the police, NGAO and County Government Inspectorate Units to jointly enforce compliance.

Most arrests took place in major towns of Mombasa (575), Nairobi (over 500), Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu.

In the unexpected night raid in Nairobi, 300 revellers were arrested in Umoja on Saturday night.

Buru Buru OCPD Adamson Bungei yesterday said the operation will be sustained until order is restored in the area.

“We will not relent. It is sad that despite the threat, people are still careless and fail to observe the basic protocol,” Bungei said.

In Nakuru, 86 people were arrested at SEBS Club within the central business district. Those apprehended were young men and women aged between 22 and 35.

Nakuru Town East OCPD Ellena Kabukuru and the local chief led the operation.

“At about 11.30pm, one club, namely SEBS was found operating contrary to the regulations. It was crowded with no social distance observation,” the police commander said.

Nakuru police boss said the suspects will be charged in court today. Licences of the entertainment joints were confiscated and will be revoked. 

Instant fines

Sting raid followed a tip off by members of the public, who alerted the police that the club was operating past 9pm.

 In a clear show of defiance, police were forced to lob teargas canisters inside the club as the revelers engaged the officers with liquor bottles and chairs to avoid being arrested. 

Kabukuru told People Daily that written notice had wbeen sent to the relevant authorities to have the operation licence of the club revoked.

As part of the strategy to decongest police cells, the government last week introduced instant fines of Sh20,000 for those found flouting Covid-19 regulations.

Investigations have, however, revealed that most club owners were using their connections with senior government officials to operate outside stipulated hours.

In Nairobi, officers raided clubs along Thika, Langata, and Kiambu roads.

Officers involved in the operation have also been accused of harassing and extorting money from residents.

Bomet Central Police Commander Musa Imamai has warned officers to be civil and avoid using extra force against anyone. While issuing the warning, Imamai also cautioned that his office will not hesitate to take stern action against any officer caught extracting bribes.

 “The exercise is purely based on sensitisation on the need to adhere to the is not about arresting anyone found not having a mask in public places.

We are not going to condone any actions by some officers demanding fines from residents,” he remarked.

 Local security officers launched an operation on Saturday where more than 20 residents were arrested but later released on a fine of between Sh2, 000 and Sh3, 000.

Transport sector

In Mombasa, at least 10 bars have been temporarily shut down, with over 236 locals arrested on Saturday night for contravening curfew laws. Another 339 people  were arrested for failing to wear masks.

According to Coast regional coordinator John Elungata, the transport sector across the coastal counties has proved to be notorious. Operators have exhibited a ‘cut and mouse’ game with authorities.

Elungata, in a statement, announced that by Saturday, at least 19 PSVs had been nabbed for contravening the Covid-19 regulations.

“We have closed 10 bars across the county for not adhering to the health guidelines.

Some 236 residents have also been arrested for contravening curfew hours. And, 39 matatus were also nabbed for flouting the regulations,” Elungata stated.

In an operation led by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, police and County Inspectorate raided a shisha den popularly known as the ‘Escape’ in Nyali.

Several suspects were arrested after they were found operating past the curfew hours and taken to Nyali Police Station.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had on Wednesday last week ordered that the nationwide curfew be extended to January 3, 2021, and that the curfew be enforced between 10pm and 4am daily. - Reporting by Roy Lumbe, Felix Yegon, Zadock  Angira and Harrison Kivisu

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