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Sunday, 24 January 2016

South African Police Clash with Protesters after Allegedly Suffocating to Death of Nigerian in custody

South African police yesterday fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at a group of Nigerians protesting the death of an unnamed 33-year-old fellow Nigerian near Johannesburg.

The scene was chaotic in front of Arwyp Medical Centre in Kempton Park northeast of Johannesburg as police clashed with the protesters, witnesses said.
The protest took place after news emerged that the unnamed Nigerian was beaten up and suffocated to death by law enforcement agents in a police van in Kempton Park.Police however said the man overdosed on drugs he swallowed as he was arrested.Spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Robbie Raburabu told News24 that police said the man was arrested for possession of drugs.“As soon as he saw the police coming, he swallowed the drugs and overdosed and died on the scene,” said Raburabu.“It was a sizeable amount of drugs.”This account was dismissed by the Chairman of the Nigerian Union in Gauteng Province, who said that the victim was beaten to death by the police.The protesters gathered outside the hospital and tried to prevent the police from taking the body away for forensic examination.The forensic experts had to come outside to retrieve the body.According to Netcare911 spokesperson,AthlendaMathe, scores of people sustained minor injuries and two others sustained moderate to serious injuries following the riot.“Reports from the scene are that at least five hundred people gathered near the Arwyp Medical Centre. The causes of the riots are subject for police investigation and comment.”Netcare911 had to be called to the scene and treated several injured, with some taken to a nearby hospital for further medical care.“Those that were injured were treated for gas inhalation, assault and injuries inflicted by stones,” Mathe said.The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) confirmed the death of the Nigerian whose name was withheld.The IPID said it was investigating the incident.Police said they had brought the situation under control.The death of the Nigerian national was reminiscent of police brutality that has happened before.South African police were put under the spotlight in 2013 when a video showed police murdering Mozambican taxi driver MidoMacia by tying and dragging him behind a police van.A South African court later convicted eight policemen of murdering the Mozambican driver.

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