India in diplomatic dialogue with Nigeria over national's death

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 06, 2013 13:00 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) Even as one person was arrested for the death of a Nigerian national in Goa, the Indian government said Wednesday it is in "diplomatic dialogue" with the Nigeria and is awaiting a probe report into the Oct 31 incident.

Surendra Paul was arrested Wednesday from Chapora, a village known as a haven for drug traffickers, located 30 km from Panaji. Police suspect that Paul was one of the six attackers involved in killing Nigerian Obina Simione Oct 31.

Nigerians protesting Simione's murder blocked National Highway 17 for several hours, demanding the presence of Nigerian consular officials for the autopsy proceedings. They later snatched lathis from intimidated policemen who were mute spectators and began to threaten local people as well as policemen themselves for a couple of hours. Over 50 Nigerians were arrested following the violence.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin discounted any tension with Nigerian capital Abuja over the death and the clash that followed in Goa between Nigerians and police.

"We are in diplomatic dialogue with them, we have explained to them" the circumstances and the situation, the spokesperson said at a briefing here.

He said the Nigerian High Commission is "concerned and anguished" and has requested for a thorough probe into the "death and consequent issues that flowed from that".

The Nigerian High Commission is also in touch with the Goa chief secretary who has assured he will "get to the bottom" of the matter and provide a report in 48 hours.

The Indian High Commission in Abuja has also explained the situation to the Nigerian foreign ministry.

Akbaruddin added that India and Nigeria ties are defined by friendship and "we hope to resolve the matter".

To a question on a Nigerian diplomat purportedly using threatening language, the spokesperson said it did not figure in their diplomatic dialogue with Nigeria.

"In our diplomatic dialogue we did not heard the words mentioned," he said, adding that the Nigerian authorities had conveyed a "sense of anguish" over the adverse circumstances. He also said the probe report would throw light on the suspected drug trafficking link to the murder.

A consular official in Goa had warned Monday that thousands of Indians in his country will be "thrown out on the streets" if police doesn't stop evicting Nigerians from their rented homes in Goa.

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