Somalia’s security agencies were on Saturday holding a police officer accused of shooting and killing two civilians as he enforced a Covid-19 curfew.
The incident, which risks negating the public cooperation against the virus, came as the country’s infection numbers soared again to 390 cases.
Police officers have, since last week, been implementing a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on the capital Mogadishu indefinitely, as authorities battled to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus beyond the city.
But on Friday night, an officer the force identified as Hassan Adan Hassan reportedly shot dead two people as they walked home during curfew hours.
The officer has since been detained in Mogadishu, but the incident led to running battles in the streets of Mogadishu as residents protested the brutality. The officer argued that the two men refused to obey orders as he directed forcing him to draw the weapon.
On Sunday, the Mayor of Mogadishu, Mr Omar Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Filish ‘addressed the protesters at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the city centre, promising that police will work better next time to cooperate with civilians.
In the aftermath, the Commander of the Somali Police Force General Abdi Hassan Hijar announced that the curfew time would be delayed every evening to 8pm, instead of the initial 7pm, to allow the Muslims to honour their Ramadhan obligations.
Somalia has banned public gatherings including at mosques and ordered schools shut in a bid to fight Covid-19. But protests against enforcement, as well as the Holy Month of Ramadhan are some of the factors authorities must balance properly to ensure the public does not lose its patience.
On Saturday, the Somalia Anti-Covid Committee confirmed a rise in infection numbers to 390 and two more deaths after an unprecedented 62 new cases were confirmed. Those new cases meant 44 male patients and 18 females.
Dr Fawzia Abikar Nur, a member of the committee and Federal Health Minister stated that two patients died as two others two recovered rising the number of recovered individuals to 10.
“The number of patients who succumbed to Covid-19 is 18 in total,” said Dr Nur, adding, “Those who recovered are 10.”
The Somali government keeps on insisting on the citizens to observe the guidelines issued by the health experts.
Meanwhile, Puntland, an autonomous regional authority that is a member of the federal government of Somalia, announced the results of its first local coronavirus tests.
In a statement released in Garowe, the state’s capital, 1,500km northeast of Mogadishu, the Puntland Minister for Health Mr Jama Farah Hassan stated on Saturday that out of 11 tests, five were positive.
The region had attained coronavirus testing kits last week. “With our test kits, we can analyse 100 samples and release the results within 24 hours,” declared Minister Hassan.