Curfew crackdowns in several African countries kill more people than Covid-19


IN THE PAPERS - Friday, April 17: We look at the wave of police brutality sparked by coronavirus lockdowns in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Nigeria's national human rights commission says the police crackdown has killed 18 people in two weeks, more than the 12 who have so far died of the virus. For a dose of positivity we turn to the UK, where British papers are hailing 99-year-old war veteran "Captain Tom," who has raised over £17 million for the National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his garden.


Human rights groups are warning that police enforcing coronavirus lockdowns in several African countries have actually killed more people than the virus itself. That’s the case in Nigeria, although you won’t read about it on the front page of today’s Daily Trust. The paper does say that security forces have taken over the streets in Kano, the latest state in the country to enter lockdown.

It’s actually the paper's cartoon that sends a much clearer message about the violence. We see the virus puzzled by and angered over the dead bodies lying in the streets. "Obviously we’re facing competition from security agents," it says.

In South Africa, the Sowetan has a front-page message for security forces there: "Stop the brutality". The paper talks about a "reign of terror" mostly taking place in townships. The Sowetan spoke to victims’ family members and victims themselves, including one man who was shot in the leg for leaving his house to go to the outdoor toilet.

There are horrific stories coming out of Kenya as well. The Washington Post writes about a pregnant woman who died along with her unborn baby when she went into labour during an overnight curfew. Her midwife was too afraid to break curfew to come and her neighbours were too scared to drive her to the hospital. By the time she got there in the morning it was too late.

Finally, to end with an uplifting story, we can turn to the British papers, where you’ll see one man on all the front pages: 99-year-old "Captain Tom", a veteran of World War II. He is turning 100 on April 30 and decided to walk 100 laps of his garden before then to raise money for the National Health Service. He completed his last lap on Thursday, well before his target. He also raised way more money than he could have imagined - over £17 million as of this Friday morning. And of course, he’s raised spirits across the UK.

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