Three people died in the Rift Valley in Kenya during a clash between police and residents over the use of face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a witness reported Friday.

AP –

The police confirmed the deaths, but their account was different.

For weeks, human rights activists have denounced alleged killings by police officers by imposing virus-related restrictions. They also accuse officers of extorting money for bribes.

Kenneth Kaunda told The Associated Press that there were violent protests in Lessos on Thursday when people tried to prevent the police from arresting a motorcycle taxi passenger for not using the mask, which is punishable by a fine of $ 200, a very high sum for many.

Kaunda said neighbors were fed up with the police collecting bribes for the mask. He said an agent who had arrested the driver opened fire on people and killed a shoemaker.

« He shot the crowd at least five times, » said Kaunda, a bricklayer.

Enraged neighbors burned down the home of the local police chief and stoned a police station. Amid the chaos, two other people were shot and killed, Kaunda said.