“It was the worst 10-15 minutes of my life. Our car was surrounded by armed goons. My husband was being beaten up. I held my four-month-old daughter tight, praying she doesn’t get hurt,” said Kate Igbonosa, 26, remembering the night of the attack at Rajpur Khurd village.
Kenneth’s wife, Kate, vividly remembers how she tried to protect her daughter from the shards of glass when the car windshield was smashed by the locals that night.
“Fortunately, the goons did not hit me. My husband managed to start the car and escape from that narrow lane,” she said.
Kenneth said this was not the first time he had been attacked in Delhi. In October last year, he was slapped by a mechanic when he objected to his racist slurs. “There were four mechanics teasing my sister in Chattarpur. I got angry and asked them to stop. I got a slap in return. I did not approach the police then.”
Four different groups of African nationals were attacked by residents of three villages in Chattarpur area of south Delhi between 9pm and midnight on Thursday. The victims were going home.
Around six African nationals said they were racially abused by the residents of Maidangarhi and Rajpur Khurd villages. Police registered four separate FIRs and said the attacks were not planned.
Another victim, Lucky, 32, a businessman, who came to the country in November last year, was going to a church with his brother Ben when they were forced out of the autorickshaw. This happened around half an hour before Kenneth was attacked.
“We were going to an all-night church service in Saket. We were in an autorickshaw when they stopped us. They beat us up black and blue. I have suffered a deep cut on my nose.”
Shopkeeper alerted many Africans
A middle-aged shopkeeper, whose shop is located near the entrance of Maidangarhi village, recounts the horrific attacks. “I had not shut my shop. I could see villagers attacking Africans. Because my shop is located at the village entrance, I could warn the Africans,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Some locals, who claimed to have helped the foreigners that night, said, “Many victims live in Neb Sarai and Rajpur Khurd, so they had to pass through the area.”
Victims unsure how attacks started
While the police said the clash occurred because some Africans were drinking in public, the victims seemed to be clueless why they were attacked. “If somebody played loud music then they should be punished. Why would anyone attack churchgoers,” said Lucky.