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Kenya police arrest prison warden over rape of patient in COVID-19 quarantine

Kenyan police arrested a prison warden accused of raping a female patient in a COVID-19 isolation facility he was meant to be guarding, a police report said on Friday.

It was the latest in a string of incidents highlighting substandard conditions at some government-run coronavirus treatment centre in the East African country, reports Reuters.

The attack may add to fears over treatment in government facilities that health experts have warned may deter Kenyans from coming forward to be tested for the new coronavirus.

Earlier this year there were several breakouts from quarantine centre amid bitter complaints about inadequate food, water and hygiene from those kept inside. In March, authorities said they were investigating a reported suicide at a quarantine facility.

The latest incident occurred at a centre in the western border town of Busia that was guarded by both police and prison officers, according to the police report seen by Reuters. It said a colleague had noticed the prison officer talking to a patient, felt uncomfortable and left to alert other officers.

“They heard noise and commotion coming from the women’s ward,” the report said. “They (officers) rushed there and found all the patients outside and complaining that the prison officer was raping the said lady patient.

“Health officers were summoned. The officer has been disarmed by senior officers from prison and quarantined within the facility,” it said.

Police spokesman Charles Owino had no comment when called about the incident. The health ministry did not respond to request for comment.

Kenya has confirmed 12,062 cases of the novel coronavirus and 222 deaths, according to data from the health ministry.

Complaints of brutality by members of the security forces are extremely common in Kenya. Last month the police watchdog announced it was investigating officers who had tied up a woman and dragged her behind a motorbike.

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