Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nigeria decries police shooting death in Poland

Nigerian diplomats on Monday decried the "wanton killing" of a Nigerian citizen in a Polish police shooting, while officials in the European nation described the death as an accident.

Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the unnamed citizen died after being shot Sunday during a police raid on an open-air market in Warsaw. The ministry said police also arrested other Nigerians at the market.

The ministry asked for an immediate investigation into the shooting and called for authorities to also examine other claims of harassment by Nigerians living in Poland.

"The ministry strongly believes that there can be no justification for this wanton killing of a Nigerian citizen," the ministry said in a statement. "The killing without established culpability demonstrates the highhandedness on the part of the Polish police."

Polish national police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said officers at the market chased after a Nigerian who ran away from them on patrol. One of the officers threw the man to the ground and tried to handcuff him, but a group of foreigners attacked him, Sokolowski said.

The officer's handgun fired during the struggle, the round striking the Nigerian, the spokesman said.

"This man could have been saved and police officers started to resuscitate him, but they were repeatedly attacked with stones by a group of foreigners and were forced to defend themselves, and had to stop the resuscitation," Sokolowski said.

The spokesman said six police officers were injured in the fighting and 32 foreigners were arrested.

The complaint by Nigerian authorities comes as the nation's own police force faces increasing criticism. Human rights groups say police in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, routinely execute prisoners, rape prostitutes and extort drivers at roadblocks.


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