INDIA – Hundreds of residents of an Indian city where a teenage boy died of a suspected drug overdose went on a violent rampage against Africans, using steel chairs to attack shoppers in a local mall.
The riots broke out late Monday after police in Greater Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi, released five African students detained over the youth’s death — saying they had no evidence against them.
One television station showed an angry mob hitting a car with sticks, while another showed dozens of attackers using steel chairs to hit shoppers in a mall.
Local police said 10 people had been wounded, while India’s foreign minister said authorities were investigating the attacks.
“There will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
Africans living in India frequently face discrimination and even violence, and are often accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The issue was thrown into the spotlight after the stoning to death of a Congolese national in a dispute over an auto-rickshaw last year.
After that, African ambassadors in New Delhi threatened to advise students from their countries to avoid schools in the capital for their own safety.
The latest attack stemmed from the death of a local 16-year-old from an apparent drug overdose.
Police detained five Nigerian students in connection with the case after a group of local people went to their home and accused them of murder.
The students were later released without charge after police failed to find any evidence against them.
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 colour,” Jack told AFP, adding that many African students were leaving the area out of fear.