At least 129 people were arrested in the City of Kigali on Saturday, February 13, in Rwanda National Police (RNP) operations that targeted bars and other businesses flouting the national COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
The violators were found in four bars as well as those who had organised a party at home while others were found in Sauna and massage.
In Gatsata Sector of Gasabo District, 28 people were arrested in Kilimanjaro bar, 19 in Zebra Guest House and Bar while nine others were found in Shukuru Hospitality.
Other 47 people were caught in Kirabo bar located in Nyabugogo while 10 other violators were found in a house party in Gacuriro.
In Kicukiro District, 16 people were found in Sauna and massage at Glads Apartment located in Nyarugunga Sector, Kamashashi Cell.
Samuel Kamanzi, the proprietor of Zebra Guest House and Bar said his employee opened the bar to people who had come to seek shelter as it was raining.
“We have not been operating, but today people who were sheltering from the rain ordered for alcoholic drinks, one of my employees opened the bar and started serving them,” Kamanzi argued.
Jean Claude Bucumi, one of the those found in Zebra Guest House and Bar drinking, however, said that he has been frequenting the same spot.
“I had just entered and ordered for a drink when Police entered the bar and arrested us. I thought it was going to be like any other days when we would came here, drink and go home,” Bucumi said.
According to Bucumi, he was supposed to meet his other two friends at the same spot for a drink but he was arrested before his colleagues could arrive.
Aileth Gakwaya, the owner of Glads Apartment claimed that she did not know that COVID-19 can be transmitted when people are in Sauna.
“I admit that I violated the directives but I knew that people in Sauna cannot infect others. We have not been operating every day but once in a while we open to clients,” said Gakwaya.
she admitted that his clients were coming from different places and regretted undermining the prevention directives.
RNP spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera warned that no one will violate the directives and go unnoticed or unpunished.
“If you know that what you are doing is contrary to the government directives and think that you were not arrested yesterday or today, tomorrow might be your turn,” CP Kabera warned.
He further cautioned those using allowed businesses as cover to operate prohibited services.