COVID-19: 16 arrested for holding party

On 24 December 2020 at 10:33

On Wednesday, December 23, sixteen youth were paraded to the media at Amahoro stadium after they were arrested for holding a birthday party.

The violators include 14 young women and two young men.

The birthday party for a certain Deborah Shema was held in the night of December 19, in Niboye Sector, Kicukiro District.

It came to light after some concerned members of the public reported the violations.

The party included a silent disco.

Deborah Shema told journalists that the party had been organized before the new directives were issued, during the period when she thought there were no "tough restrictions."

"We organised my birthday party before December, and it was to include a silent disco. I invited 16 of my friends but I do not know how our photos were leaked for the Police to know about it. Everyone, who attended the party was called by the Police on Tuesday and we are all here," Shema narrated.

She added: "We knew what we were doing was prohibited, but we did not know that anyone or the Police would know about it since even the music was silent... not even the neighbours would suspect anything; at least that is what we thought."

To Annet Kyatengwa, who also attended the party, she regretted being part of it even when she was well aware that what she was doing was contrary to the Government directives and putting lives at risk of catching and spreading the COVID-19.

Equally, Arlette Iribagiza advised other young people to suspend such social gatherings for their safety. No doubt that such parties put their lives at risk.

All the 16 violators were also subjected to COVID-19 tests. As of Wednesday afternoon, when they were paraded, their test results were yet to be released.

At Amahoro stadium, they were also enlightened on the pandemic, Government directives meant to prevent further coronavirus spread but also fined accordingly.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera warned that every violator will be held accountable, even if the violations are brought to light days or weeks after.

"We are in a fragile period where only one person can lead to mass spread of COVID-19, further killing many people. No one should allow such gatherings in their neighborhoods. Please report them," CP Kabera said.

"These people came from different places. They did not know their status, meaning either of them could be infected and easily infect others.

They tried to secretly hold the party but as usual it came to light because of the responsiveness of some members of the public. Even if the prohibited gathering or celebrations were held last week and Police gets to know about it today, we will locate and arrest you," he warned.

He reminded the general public that such gatherings and celebrations are prohibited.
"If you cannot postpone your party or wait for safer days ahead, do it with your internal family members but do not invite anyone from outside.”

“The Police is working with other entities from local government, health, community policing groups and members of the public to enforce the directives especially in the forthcoming festive period, and ensure that any violator is held accountable."

Violators' party included a silent disco.
At Amahoro stadium, the 16 violators were enlightened on the pandemic, Government directives meant to prevent further coronavirus spread but also fined accordingly.