x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Indian police arrest man over Nigerian’s death in Goa

Police blame the killing on rivalry between local and Nigerian drug traffickers.

PANAJI // Police in Goa have arrested a local man over the killing of a Nigerian, whose death has triggered protests and heightened tensions in the state.

A Indian in his mid-thirties was detained on Tuesday night in north Goa, accused of being part of a gang which stabbed the Nigerian to death last week, a senior police official said. He said further arrests were expected soon.

Tensions have been rising in the western resort state since the man was found dead on October 30. Police blamed the killing on rivalry between local and Nigerian drug traffickers.

Nigeria told India on Tuesday that it feared for the safety of its nationals in Goa and called for immediate action against those responsible for the killing.

Goan police arrested 53 Nigerians last week after about 200 of them staged a protest against the killing, chasing a police hearse carrying the corpse and laying the body on the road.

Following the demonstration, which blocked Goa’s main highway for several hours, Goa’s chief minister, Manohar Parrikar, asked police to track down Nigerians living illegally in the former Portuguese colony so that they could be deported.

After the protest, a minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party government, Dayanand Mandrekar, stirred more controversy by saying: “Nigerians are like cancer.”

Nigeria’s high commission issued a diplomatic note and demanded on Tuesday that the security of its nationals be assured.

“We have lost one of our nationals in a cold-blooded murder,” a spokesman said, calling for justice and compensation for the family of the dead man.

The previous day, another high commission official warned of repercussions against Indians living in Nigeria unless Goa stopped “evicting Nigerians” from the coastal state and caught the killers.

The Indian community numbers around 35,000 in Nigeria, according to the Indian foreign ministry website.

The Indian government said it was in touch with Abuja and added that Nigeria has sought an official probe.

“Obviously the Nigerian high commission is concerned and there is a sense of anguish at what may have happened to some of their nationals,” said foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

“They have requested us to carry out a thorough investigation and to bring to book those who are involved in the death of a Nigerian national and the consequent issues that followed from that.”

He said the ministry had asked the Goa government for an investigation and the state administration had promised to send a report to New Delhi by Friday.

* Agence France-Presse