More than a dozen Africans were subject to mob attacks on Thursday night at a south Delhi village as they passed by in cars or autorickshaws, or returned to their homes in the area. The mobs allegedly beat them with cricket bats and iron rods, and threw bricks at them.
The violence took place at Rajpur Khurd, close to the Qutub Minar. Five days ago, a Congolese teacher was killed in Delhi over an argument with an autorickshaw driver.
Thursday night's attacks took place between 10 pm and 11.30 pm, and left at least seven people injured, two of whom have been hospitalised and one of whom had his nose smashed and partially severed with an iron rod, says The Telegraph.
The attacks possibly began after an argument between an African and an autorickshaw driver. However, assistant commissioner of police Jimmy Chiram said: "We shall let you know when the motive is confirmed."
Chiram had led a team of 30 policemen accompanied by 10 Africans around the village on Friday afternoon, identifying the attackers' homes. Several young men from the neighbourhood were picked up for questioning, but none so far have been arrested.
"We are questioning people to find out whether one gang or separate groups carried out the attacks," said Chiram, refusing to say how many Africans were attacked or how many suspects had been detained. "We are collecting statements from the complainants and will file a case once we have gathered evidence," he said.
According to Kenneth Igbinosa, a Nigerian priest at the Christ Consulate Church, he was attacked by a mob after he had dropped off two parishioners at Rajpur Khurd on his way home. Igbinosa was with his Kate and their four-month-old son, Blessed.
Igbinosa said: "It was around 10.30. Six guys rushed out of Naveen General Store and started smashing my car with cricket bats. I stopped and asked what had happened. They yelled something in Hindi. Several others joined them and attacked me with sharp planks of wood. I got back in and drove off to save my wife and baby. They smashed my windscreen and rear screen as I drove to my brother Jason's place (in Rajpur Extension)."
Igbinosa's brother Ola Jason had left a gym in the area at around 10 pm and found two of his car tyres slashed. As he replaced them, he received a call from Igbinosa.
"I rushed to my place. My brother had cuts on his arms and his shirt was torn," said Jason. Jason added that a Congolese man named Pierre was beaten up with bats and rods.
Beautician Shamila Nassazi, a Rajpur Khurd resident from Uganda, accused two young men of attacking her as she returned home in an auto after 10 pm.
"Some 10 or 15 guys stopped my auto and pulled my arms and clothes. When I began running, they chased me and hit me with iron rods. They wouldn't say why - they were just shouting something," she said.
"I ran to every house. I told the women with folded hands, 'Please sister, help me'. None moved. They looked away and closed their doors, some even laughed at me," said Nassazi.
Residents of the area said they had seen or heard nothing on Thursday night. A shopkeeper first said that he had shut shop at 11 pm, but when he was told the mobs had attacked much before that time, he said: "I closed at 9 pm on Thursday."