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From Africa to the US, policing has its roots in white supremacy

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19.09.2020

On May 13, at about 5am, men who appeared to be police officers ordered a motorcycle taxi to stop in Jinja, Uganda. The taxi driver, assuming the men were trying to enforce the country's strict dusk-to-dawn coronavirus curfew and ban on motorcycle taxis carrying passengers, sped off instead. In response, the "officers" opened fire, shooting the taxi's passenger, food vendor Evelyn Namulondo, in the abdomen.

Namulondo sadly succumbed to her injuries in a nearby hospital two days later. The Ugandan police denied any involvement in the incident, and claimed in a statement to local media the men who shot Namulondo were not officers, but "rebels".

Her family is not convinced with the authorities' explanation, and for good reason.

Namulondo is only one of at least 12 people reported to have died at the hands of security personnel enforcing Uganda's lockdown, with several others badly injured.

In Uganda, it seems, the police view their new responsibility to enforce coronavirus rules and restrictions as a free pass to inflict violence on civilians they deem to be "unruly". And the problem is not exclusive to Uganda.

In Angola, security forces enforcing curfews killed at least seven people. In Nigeria, 18 people were killed by the police at the start of the lockdown. And in Kenya, the death toll stood at 12 as of mid-April.

I covered Namulondo's story for a British media organisation. As I talked to her distraught relatives and watched authorities scramble to shift the blame for her death, I could not help but draw parallels between the senseless killings of civilians across the continent by police officers supposedly working to ensure "law and order", and the cases of racialised police brutality in the United States that........

© Al Jazeera


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