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Deserted Oginga Odinga street in Kisumu. (Denish Ochieng, Standard)
Nyanza residents were treated to a night of horror as the curfew took effect on Friday evening.

Several people were arrested while others, motorists and pedestrians, were beaten by police officers for failing to obey the directives requiring them to stay indoors.

The situation was worsened by heavy floods that also left a trail of destruction in several counties and displaced dozens of families in Kisumu and Siaya counties.

In Kisumu, many residents were yet to get back to their houses by the time the curfew started at 7pm.

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In Kondele, residents converged on the flyover above the highway and were reluctant to go to their houses.

The were forcibly dispersed by heavily armed police officers who lobbed teargas canisters at them. The unlucky ones received heavy beatings. Several motorcycles were abandoned and vehicles deserted as their owners fled from police officers.

Kondele residents accused the officers of hurling teargas canisters in their houses and torturing them.

Joseph Okello, a boda boda operator said he sustained injuries on his limbs after he was assaulted by the officers.

“The police should have considered the fact that it rained before the deadline and most of us had to wait for the showers to stop so we could go home,” Okello said.

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Yesterday, Kisumu County Commissioner Susan Waweru faulted residents for defying the directives.

She said some vehicles were grounded after their occupants ran over roadblocks while attempting to flee from police officers.

“We arrested some people who violated the directives but we do not want to crowd the cells,” Ms Waweru said.

On high alert

She cautioned residents against violating the directive.

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Other residents accused the officers of laxity after thugs took advantage of the curfew to raid their houses.

Residents of some Kisumu estates including Migosi and Manyatta said robbers terrorised them all night as heavy rains pounded the area. In Nyamira, County Commissioner Amos Mariba said several revelers were arrested after they were found in a bar long after the curfew hours.

Mariba said county security officials were on high alert to ensure the 7pm to 5am curfew was not violated.

Along the Kisii-Nairobi Highway, 20 passenger service vehicles were intercepted and occupants had to spend the night in the vehicles that were diverted to Keroka Police Station.

Masaba North Deputy County Commissioner Benson Lebarmoricho said the highway was closed and only emergency cases that were justified would be allowed.

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“The rate of observance was high on the first day and we did our best to intercept law breakers,” Lebarmoricho said.

But some leaders in the region criticised the approach by the security agencies to implement the curfew through terror.

Ndhiwa MP Matin Owino accused authorities of treating residents as a problem instead of engaging them as partners to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Beating people who cannot beat curfew due to lack of transport or late release by employers in the name of preventing the Covid-19 will be counter productive,” he said.

For Ayweyo, Bondo and Nyatike residents, the curfew worsened the situation as they were already facing floods after another night of heavy rainfall left a fresh trail of destruction.

SEE ALSO: Handwashing, sanitising rank low in Kenya’s Covid-19 awareness- study

Yesterday’s rains swept away several homes and submerged schools that provide temporary shelter to the locals.

Coronavirus Nyanza Police Brutality Floods
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