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Nigerian man identified as Ifeanyi Madu alias Nwa Jesus, died in an accident on Monday morning, March 13th, after the bike on which he was riding skidded on Kothanur Avalahalli Road, in Bengaluru, India. However, the African community has described the death as "murder" and is questioning the Police version of event.
The Central Crime Branch said that Madu died after he fell from the bike when they were chasing him and his friend for peddling drugs.
The African community, contesting the police version, said that some of its members saw Madu with plainclothes police officers near a supermarket in the area around 10pm. In a letter to the Nigerian high commission in New Delhi, they have sought its intervention so that the case is handed over to an independent agency like the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
"We have a lot of suspicion in this case that convinces us that the Nigerian national was murdered and the police are making it appear as if it was an accident," Nigerian Community President, Igwe Elvis Ohachosim wrote in a letter to the Nigerian Embassy in New Delhi.
"According to our information, the deceased was seen in the evening of March 12, 2017 with policemen pulling him here and there. Thereafter they didnt know where they took him." the letter reads.
K N Yashavanth Kumar, inspector, women and narcotic cell of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) said in his complaint that his team was on Kothanur Avalahalli Road expecting to make an arrest after an exchange of drugs for money when the accident occurred. A senior officer said the team had left the office around 7.30pm and was waiting at the spot.
An official statement quoting Kumar's complaint said:
"The team was waiting by the road. Around 12.10am (Monday), two persons riding a scooter passed and returned, making a U-turn; suddenly the rider tried speeding with the intention of running away."
Police said the rider lost control, and the pillion rider was tossed from the bike. The rider left him behind and escaped. Yashvanth's complaint said his team took the victim to Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital in Shivajinagar, and the doctor declared him as "dead on arrival."
A 24-year-old Nigerian who was with Madu when the police picked up the later said his his friend "was alive when he was caught by those men."
"Around 10pm on Sunday, a group of men in civil clothes who were wielding canes followed them on bikes. Madu stopped the bike near Green Supermarket to allow them to go. I stopped the bike thinking that the men on bikes coming behind would pass by us. But they stopped their bikes and surrounded us. A few of them claimed that they were police and caught Madu. I managed to escape. I fell down while running.
The youth, who injured his right knee, said the bike belonged to him. Both had just come from Mysuru on Sunday morning. According to him, Madu lived in Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu from where he would bring clothes and footwear and sell them to his community members in the city.
Later, representatives of 11 African nations were called to the hospital in a bid to identify the deceased. They were shocked to see blood still oozing out from Madu's head in the back. There were no other noticeable injuries on the body.
"It is clearly does not look like an accident," said Elvis, pointing out that there were no scratches on his body other than the fresh wound behind his back.
Based on information provided by the Nigerian community, police have contacted the Foreigner Regional Registration Office and are awaiting confirmation of the man's identity. Police said they do not have any conclusive evidence at present to link Madu with any kind of criminal activity, including drug dealing.
The community's legal adviser Bosco Kaweesi said:
"The nature of the injuries do not point to an accident. We want an impartial investigation into the matter. This murder comes close on the heels of the murder of a Ugandan woman in February, who the police conveniently called a prostitute and her death has not been investigated properly."
Police maintain that the death was caused by an accident and that they never had Madu in custody. Police have seized the vehicle involved in the accident but had not traced its owner or the rider. They have found a mobile phone, which they think belonged to Madu. Police commissioner Praveen Sood said:
"We are checking those details. We don't know if it is a stolen vehicle. We cannot say anything now."