NAIROBI, Kenya — The bullet struck the 13-year-old as he stood on the balcony of his family’s home with his siblings. Below, police officers moved through the crowded neighborhood, enforcing Kenya’s new coronavirus curfew.
Go upstairs, the children’s mother had shouted minutes earlier, as gunfire echoed in the streets. “We thought it was safer,” the boy’s 19-year-old sister, Aisha Hussein, told The Associated Press.
But on the balcony the children noticed a targeting light, heard another gunshot and scattered. All but 13-year-old Yasin Hussein Moyo, who “just stood there, stunned,” his sister said.
As he bled from the abdomen and their mother rushed up, the boy said, “Look mum, it hit me.”
His family mourned him Tuesday on the outskirts of Nairobi, washing his small body according to Muslim rite, carrying him in a crowd through the street to the cemetery and burying him in the dirt with their bare hands.
The killing might be the latest example of police abuse of coronavirus restrictions seen in several African nations in the past week.
Kenya’s police inspector general has ordered an investigation into the boy’s death by “stray bullet,” including a forensic analysis of all firearms held by officers at the scene.
“Our sincere condolences to the family,” the police tweet said.
The family was stunned. Women wept in a courtyard at the cemetery, and leaned in for a final goodbye before the boy’s body was wrapped completely in white cloth.
The father, Hussein Moyo, was furious.
“They come in screaming and beating us like cows, and we are law-abiding citizens,” he said. His son died a few hours after midnight.
Police shot him, a neighbor in the adjacent apartment block said.
“I could see police aiming at the building,” Hadijah Mamo said. She heard gunfire and saw tear gas, and minutes later “I heard people screaming that the boy had been shot.”
Kenya on Friday began imposing a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and violence quickly followed.
Police fired tear gas at a crowd of hundreds of commuters who tried to reach a ferry in the port city of Mombasa before the first night of curfew began. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons.
Another death has been blamed on police enforcement of the curfew. A motorcycle taxi driver, Hamisi Juma Mbega, died from his injuries after being beaten. He had breached the curfew by taking a pregnant woman to a hospital in Mombasa, according to a post-mortem report obtained by the AP.
And the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, a civilian body established by parliament, said it is looking into another death blamed on police brutality, that of a bicycle taxi driver in Homa Bay county.
Human rights groups, the Catholic church and even Kenya’s health ministry have condemned the actions of a police force that has long been accused of abuses.
“People must be treated humanely,” the cabinet secretary for health, Mutahi Kagwe, said after Friday night’s events.
Kenya now has 59 coronavirus cases, including one death from the disease.
By TOM ODULA