COVID-19: Police foils birthday party, 19 arrested

On 6 July 2021 at 05:46

Police in City of Kigali, on Sunday July 4, foiled a party which had been organized by a group of youth to celebrate their colleague’s birthday.

During the operation, Rwanda National Police (RNP) arrested 19 youths at the home of Mugabo Debon, who was celebrating his birthday, located in Rwezamenyo Sector, Nyarugenge District.

All social gatherings including celebrations of all kinds such as birthday parties, are prohibited both in public and private settings under the government directives to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Mugabo, while speaking to the media on Monday, July 5, said that his guests had come from different parts of Kigali to surprise him on his birthday.

He argued that he was not aware of the party and that his friends had intended to surprise him.

"I was not remembering that it was my birthday but when I arrived home from work I found a big group of friends, who had organized the party for me. In that moment, Police also arrived and arrested us all," said Mugabo.

He wondered as to why his friends chose to hold the birthday party well knowing that it is prohibited.

Grace Muhawenimana, one of those arrested, said that they were warned prior that what they were doing is prohibited and would be arrested.

"Someone had warned us before but we thought that maybe we would not be noticed," said Muhawenimana, who came from Gikondo in Kicukiro District.

RNP Deputy spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Apollo Africa Sendahangarwa said that Police had received prior information from residents about the birthday party, which was being organized.

"This group of young people was arrested at about 6pm and their plan was to spend the whole night at the same home celebrating Mugabo’s birthday. Even at 6pm, they had already violated the curfew because everyone should be at their respective homes by that time except for those seeking emergency services like medical," said CSP Africa.

The group was already starting the party when Police weighed in. CSP Africa commended members of the public for real time information leading to the arrest of the group and foiling the party.

"As indicated by the health organizations, such gatherings and worse still held indoor, fuel the spread of Covid-19. That is why gatherings and parties in all settings, are prohibited and people advised to maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly and wear face masks properly," he said.

The violators were educated on government health measures against the pandemic and handed administrative fines for the violations.