World

Rwandan man ‘badly beaten by police’ dies

A Rwandan man died in hospital after being badly assaulted by a police officer who was enforcing a night-time curfew on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali, a member of his family has told the BBC.

Flavien Ngaboyamahina, who would have turned 30 on Wednesday, had visited a friend in Karenge, east of Kigali.

They were both arrested on 1 August for being outdoors after 21:00 local time, when the curfew starts, the family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“They were on the road near his friend’s home… Suddenly he [the friend] heard Flavien groaning that he’s been badly hit in the belly. It was a policeman, who then arrested them both,” the family member said.

Mr Ngaboyamahina died in hospital three days later, the family member added.

On Monday, Rwandan police spokesperson John Bosco Kabera told the BBC he would comment later.

The police sent a representative to Mr Ngaboyamahina’s burial last Thursday, according to the family member.

Rwanda was recently praised by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus as among countries that “are doing well in managing the coronavirus pandemic”.

It is one of three African countries whose citizens are currently allowed to travel to Europe’s Schengen area.

Opposition groups in Rwanda have condemned what they say is the violation of human rights and the use of excessive force by security officers while enforcing Covid-19 restrictions.

In the last two weeks of July, nearly 60,000 people were punished for either not wearing face masks, breaching the curfew or not observing social distancing, the interior ministry said.

Most of the offenders were arrested and taken to stadiums or school buildings where they were forced to sit all night or day.

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