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At least 7 young teens killed by Angolan police enforcing virus curbs

Amnesty International stated seven young men have been shot dead between May and July by Angolan security forces intending to uphold the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

A joint investigation by Angolan rights group OMUNGHA and the UK0 based watchdog resulted in the groups stating security forces used “excessive, unlawful force” in tracking down breaches.

The government in March declared a state of emergency and soldiers and police were deployed to enforce the curfews and gathering bans.

“One teenage boy was shot in the face while he lay injured; another was killed when police fired on a group of friends practicing at a sports field. A state of emergency is no excuse for such outrageous human rights violations” stated Deprose Muchena, Amnesty’s director for East and Southern Africa.

One young man with pre-existing health problems dies during an incident where police intimidated and humiliated him, asking him to perform a somersault while pointing a gun at him when he said he felt ill and could not the officer fired and he later died.

The youngest confirmed victim was 14-years old and was allegedly killed in May when police fired into the air to disperse a crowd of people working in fishing boats.

In June, a 15-year-old was shot in the back outside his aunt’s house as police used firearms to disperse a street crowd.

“The authorities have used emergency measures to impose arbitrary restrictions on human rights. The ultimate aim of combating the spread of COVID-19 should be to save lives” said João Malavindele, Executive Director of OMUNGA

Amnesty and OMUNGA have verified other similar killings but call for an independent and transparent investigation as they believe the “true death toll” could be “much higher.”

Read more from Al Jazeera and Amnesty International

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