THREE Nigerians have been lynched to death in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau for allegedly kidnapping a child that has led to calls for the mass expulsion of Nigerian citizens from the country.
Yesterday morning, a young boy went missing in Bissau, the capital of the small west African nation bordering Senegal and Guinea. Immediately word went out that his disappearance was a result of the activities of three Nigerians who have exported kidnapping into the country, an angry mob gathered and set upon them.
Overwhelming the security forces, the mob descended on the trio beating them to death, leaving the police to take their corpses to the hospital mortuary. Mostly young men armed with stones and bottles, the mob even managed to grab one of the suspected kidnappers from a police car as officers stood by powerless.
Police fired warning shots into the air and attacked the crowd with tear gas in an effort to disperse the mob but they were unsuccessful.“Death to Nigerians. Enough is enough, Nigerians must leave,” the angry mob chanted.
Later, the police called for reinforcements and soldiers from the Economic Community of West African States currently in the country were deployed to Bissau. They eventually managed to restore some calm in the afternoon and regain control of the city.
Nigeria’s embassy in Bissau, where many Nigerians sought refuge was then surrounded by security forces for protection. This latest abduction came at a tense time in Bissau, as over the past fortnight several kidnappings have been reported to the police.
Child abductions are currently an explosive topic in Guinea-Bissau and on radio shows, many callers have attributed the problem to the presence of Nigerians in the country. To try and address the problem, the authorities have enforced a travel ban on unaccompanied children and any adults travelling with infants who they cannot prove are relations are immediately arrested.
Kidnapping is very rife in Nigeria, with the abduction of people for ransom now a major security threat, particularly in the southeast of the country. Because of the large numbers of Nigerians in many other African countries, social vices are soon exported to hitherto peaceful nations.
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