Five men suspected of participating in the attack of some Nigerians and other Africans in India have been arrested by the police.
The five suspects were among the hundreds of angry residents who attacked the Africans with sticks and metal chairs following the death of a local teenager from a suspected drug overdose.
Indian Times reports that around a dozen people were wounded in the violence which took place on Monday, March 27, 2017, in the city where hundreds of African students and businessmen are based.
A senior police officer, Sujata Singh who confirmed the arrest, said rumours were being spread that the Africans were behind the death of the youth because they deal in drugs and racist comments were made on social media, fuelling speculations that the attacks were racially motivated.
She added that five of the attackers have been arrested while four identified others are on the run, adding that 300 people were involved in the riot.
Singh said around 500 people had assembled for a candle-lit vigil in Noida to demand justice for the teenager, and became violent after spotting a group of Nigerians.
One television station showed an angry mob hitting a car with sticks, while another showed dozens of attackers hitting shoppers in a mall with metal chairs.
Endurance Amalawa, one of the attacked students, said on NDTV television that he was outside the mall with his brother when they saw an angry mob running towards them.
“We kept crying for help, but no one came, not even the security marshals. I was running but they followed me and attacked me.
Some people were hitting us, pushing us out… they dragged my brother outside and start hitting him.”
The Indian Foreign Ministry has condemned the incident as deplorable, saying it had assured the Nigerian High Commissioner that all steps were being taken to protect the country’s nationals.
“The government is committed to ensuring safety and security of all foreigners in India. People from Africa, including students and youths, remain our valued partners,” a statement from the ministry stated.
Africans, especially Nigerians living in India frequently face discrimination and even violence and are often accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade.