Italian arrested for beating Nigerian asylum seeker to death

Police in Italy on Thursday arrested a man suspected of killing a Nigerian refugee in a racist attack that has shocked Italy, further fuelling political debate on the long-running immigration crisis.

Emmanuel Chidi Nnamdi, 36, was attacked on Tuesday in the small, central Italian town of Fermo, after coming to the defence of his wife, Chinyere Emmanuel, who was verbally abused by two Italians, locals said.

Emmanuel told police that her husband was knocked unconscious by a man wielding a road-sign pole.

“The assailant continued to kick and punch him even when he was lying on the ground,” said priest Vinicio Albanesi, who had offered the couple shelter in a nearby centre that is home to more than 100 migrants and asylum seekers.


Nnamdi died in hospital on Wednesday.

The pair came to Italy last year on a boat from Libya after escaping an attack on their church in Nigeria by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Their child and both their parents died in that assault, friends told Italian media.

Police said they had arrested Amedeo Mancini, 38, on suspicion of murder motivated by racism. The suspect’s lawyer told AGI news agency that the dynamics of the incident had not yet been established.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi dispatched his interior minister to the town on Thursday to discuss the killing with local authorities. “The government today is in Fermo, alongside father Vinicio and the local institutions in memory of Emmanuel. Against hatred, racism and violence,” Renzi said in a tweet.

Politicians from all parties condemned the killing, but the leader of the right-wing Northern League party, Matteo Salvini, said the incident showed immigration had to be controlled.

“Whoever kills, rapes or assaults another human being has to be punished. Without exception. Regardless of race,” he said in a post on Facebook, adding: “It is ever more clear that illegal immigration is out of control … and will bring no good.”


Albanesi said the people who attacked the asylum seekers were the same who earlier this year planted bombs in front of four Catholic churches in Fermo.

The explosives did not go off.

“There are small group of people who clearly think they belong to the Aryan race,” Albanesi said, as quoted by Comunita di Capodarco.

“They belong to local football fan groups and I think it is the same clique who has put bombs in front of our churches.”

The Roman Catholic Church has looked to provide homes to migrants and father Albanesi told reporters that the arrival of Africans had caused problems in Fermo. “More than hate, I see discomfort,” he said.

“People see folk of different ethnicities begging, selling goods … wandering around town. But the problem is also that the migrants have to wait one or even two years to hear if their asylum requests have been accepted.”