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Indian mob beats African students

March 28, 2017

A Nigerian student pleaded with the foreign minister to intervene, saying it was a "life-threatening situation." Hundreds of people started attacking African students, alleging they were linked to the drug trade.

Indian police and onlookers surrounding African nationals at a shopping mall in Greater Noida.
Image: Getty Images/AFP

Mob attacks Nigerian man in India

Indian police arrested several people on Tuesday who allegedly took part in a mob attack on African students.

Hundreds of Indian residents in Greater Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi, went on a mob rampage against Africans after a protest against drugs turned violent late Monday.

The violence was sparked by allegations that five African students were involved in the overdose death of a young Indian boy. Police arrested the five but then released them on Monday, citing a lack of evidence.

People shared images and video reportedly showing the rampage, in which people used steel chairs and sticks to attack Africans.

Local television aired the images as well as video showing an angry mob hitting a car with sticks.

Local police said 10 people were wounded, while India's foreign minister said authorities were investigating the attacks on the mostly Nigerians students.

"There will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident," Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

Her comments came in response to a student who told her: "As an international student in Noida, you need to act fast as living for us in Noida is becoming a life threatening issue."

Police arrested the five students after a group of locals went to their home and accused them of murder following the death of a local 16-year-old from an apparent drug overdose.

African student leader Samuel Jack said Monday's attack was just the latest example of racist violence against Africans.

"We are targeted because of our color," Jack told Agence France-Presse, adding that many African students were leaving the area out of fear.

The Association of African Students in India told its members in the area to stay indoors. It released a statement calling for "concrete steps to protect the lives and properties of all African students in India, and especially in Uttar Pradesh following the recent false allegations laid on five Nigerian students."

Attacks on Africans have been relatively common in India in recent years. Last May, a Congolese student was beaten to death in Delhi. Earlier, a Tanzanian student was attacked and partially stripped by a mob in the city of Bangalore.

aw/rc (AFP, dpa)