Popular
Photo by Michele Spatari via Getty Images

A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier searches for people not wearing face masks in a supermarket.

South African Soldier Shoots Man For Not Wearing A Mask

A South African soldier has been arrested after shooting a man for not wearing a mask in a mall.

According to TimesLIVE, a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier shot a 27-year-old man for allegedly not wearing a mask at a mall. The incident is alleged to have taken place at a mall in the province of Limpopo. The man was reportedly shot after an argument with a soldier about not wearing a mask as required under COVID-19 regulations.


Read: South Africans Angered by Police Killings of Black People During Lockdown

Members of SANDF are reported to have been surveying the mall as part of COVID-19 duties when the argument ensued. The 29 year-old soldier is said to have approached the man and questioned him about not wearing a mask, but a scuffle erupted and a shot was fired into the man's leg.

SANDF has been under increasing public criticism since the commencement of South Africa's lockdown. Soldier troops were deployed into low income, Black dominated areas across the country. Black Twitter was cynical about the deployment considering rampant police brutality. Barely a week after SANDF was deployed, videos of SANDF members assaulting innocent Black public members surged on Twitter and Facebook. These incidences coincided with the #BlackLivesMatter movement where violent clashes between white police forces and African-Americans are captured daily on social media. The exception is that in South Africa policy brutality occurs as black on black violence whilst white bodies are exempt from violent treatment.

The Presidency delayed responding to rising public outcries until the killings of Collins Khoza caught international attention. While the deaths are currently under investigation, President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a public statement emphasising compliance to both the South African Police Force and SANDF. The president's response roused further public anger.

The injured 27-year-old man was rushed to hospital while the soldier was arrested and charged with attempted murder. SANDF spokesperson Captain Jaco Theunissen told TimesLIVE the shooting could have been accidental. President Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will officially enter the final level of lockdown on the 20th of September.

Popular
Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How CKay's 'Love Nwantiti' Became the World's Song

Nigerian singer and producer CKay talks to OkayAfrica about the rise of his international chart-topping single "Love Nwantiti," his genre-defying sound and the reasons behind this era of afrobeats dominance.