india, police, indija, policija.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Scott McLeod, used under CC BY

Police in Delhi said Sunday they had arrested five people over attacks on Africans in the city, as authorities promise tougher measures to ensure their safety in the Indian capital.

The victims, most of whom are from Nigeria, were targeted in three separate incidents in south Delhi's Mehrauli area on Thursday night. Two of them told local media they were beaten with sticks and cricket bats.

South Delhi police chief Ishwar Singh denied the attacks were racist in nature and said only one African was injured.

"Two of the incidents were scuffles, after locals raised objections to their playing loud music and drinking in public places at night. These were essentially altercations between locals and Africans," Singh said.

"We have arrested five locals for criminal intimidation and assault, another two to three would be arrested soon."

African residents told Indian news channels that they were racially abused and attacked by mobs. A Nigerian national, Leuchy, 32, who uses only one name, told broadcaster NDTV that he was on way to a nearby church in an auto-rickshaw when a group of locals stopped it midway and attacked him.

"They attacked me with (cricket) bats and a stone, which caused a deep injury on my nose among other wounds. They kept thrashing me as I screamed for help asking them why they were doing so," he said.

The attacks follow the murder of Congolese student Masonda Ketada Olivier last Saturday in New Delhi. He was beaten to death after an argument over hiring an autorickshaw. Two suspects were subsequently arrested.

Condemning the incident, Federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh ordered Delhi Police to increase patrolling in Mehrauli where around 300 Africans live.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also said a "sensitization campaign" will be launched in areas where African nationals reside.

A group of African envoys strongly protested the Congolese student's killing, saying the murder was the latest in the series of racially motivated attacks on members of their community.

They urged Delhi take urgent steps to guarantee the safety of Africans in India, including initiating "appropriate programmes of public awareness that will address the problem of racism and Afro-phobia in India."

African students plan to hold a demonstration in Delhi on Tuesday to protest the attacks.

Attacks on Africans have been reported at regular intervals in recent years. In February, a female Tanzanian student was attacked and partially stripped by a mob in Bangalore city.

Related stories

Five arrested after mob attack on African woman in India

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.