Gabon Accuses Security Personnel Of Spreading COVID-19 Through Alcoholism

Law enforcement officers, especially police and gendarmes as well as alcoholism among the people’s are the reasons for the spike in COVID-19 cases in Gabon, the authorities have said.

According to Guy-Patrick Obiang, “the spokesperson for Gabon’s Pilot Committee for the Fight Against COVID-19 , known by its French acronym COMPIL, “We have unfortunately noticed that many of our compatriots continue to involve in risky behaviour by especially locking themselves in drinking places in order to consume alcohol.

“Among these persons are police and gendarmes who are supposed to be on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.”

These men in uniform do not hesitate in quitting their work places for what they themselves term ‘to relax’”, the spokesperson said.

A bar owner in Beau-Sejour Okinda quarters in the nation’s capital, Librevill, said, “…they came here knocking on my door to find out if I had some wine for sale. I told them I didn’t.

“They continued knocking on the doors of drinking places until they found one selling wine down the road.

“Everyday they are in that joint accompanied by free girls and other inhabitants of the quarters, drinking, dancing and making noise without taking the necessary precautions imposed by the authorities, whose agents they are supposed to be.”

“They are supposed to discourage such irresponsible behaviour by sealing drinking places that do not respect the anti-COVID-19 restrictions imposed by government in order to force people to stay at home, but they are themselves the promoters of the disorder,” the bar owner who refused to give his name for fear of repercussions from the law enforcement agents told HumAngle.

Gabon registered the highest 24-hour COVID-19 figures on May 5 with 30.

Among the 30 cases, eight were discovered following massive testing within the communities while 22 were suspected cases.

The country’s latest figures indicate that there are a total of 397 COVID-19 confirmed cases with 93 who have been successfully treated and discharged from hospital and six fatalities. Seven hundred and twenty-four individuals who came in contact with infected persons are being traced by COMPIL.

The COMPIL spokesperson stressed that the effectiveness of the fight against the propagation of the coronavirus was closely linked to the conscientious comportment of individuals as well as entire communities.

“The consumption of alcohol in our quarters is generalised and has continued to proliferate without the respect of restrictive measures ordered by the authorities. Sometimes, several individuals use the same glass in drinking as well as also drinking from the same bottle.

“These are very high risk behaviours which promote contamination and as we all know, alcohol weakens the lungs and makes the human system vulnerable.

“That is why we draw the attention of our populations to the risks linked to abusive consumption of alcohol within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Obiang said.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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