SOUTH African policeman Constable Austin Luciano Reynolds has been found guilty by a court in Durban of the murder of Nigerian businessman Ebuka Emmanuel Okoli on January 19 2018.
Of late, there have been increased attacks against Nigerians in South Africa as xenophobia has been on the rise and in many cases this has been with the complicity of the security forces. In the first case of a member of the security forces being convicted for xenophobia, Constable Reynolds has been found guilty of murder and three charges of robbery.
Nigerian Union of South Africa (Nusa) president Adetola Olubajo, said: “Nusa welcomes the judgment of Judge Shyam Gyanda on the brutal murder of Late Ebuka Emmanuel Okoli who was shot by a young police constable in Durban on 19th January 2018. Austin Luciano Reynolds, the 24-year-old South African police constable, was found guilty today, Friday 29th November 2019 for the January 19 2018 murder of Ebuka Okoli a native of Anambra State in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal.
“The accused was found guilty on all four charges, one charge of murder and three charges of robbery. The accomplice of the accused during the illegal raid turned state witness. Mr Ebuka was robbed, tortured, handcuffed and later shot at close range by the officer who was off-duty at the time of the raid.”
Mr Ebuka was reportedly shot at close range during an allegedly illegal raid by Constable Reynolds and his colleague on the community where the deceased resided in Durban. Mr Olubajo added: “We have been monitoring the case since the inception and very grateful and appreciative of the role played by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate because without them, this case would have been one of the numerous unresolved murder cases of Nigerians in South Africa.”
Bello Sambo, the minister of trade and investment at the Nigerian consulate general in Johannesburg, said they have been keen about this case and have been following it for the past one year. One of the accomplices of the accused Constable Pallo, who turned state witness said he decided to be on the side of the state government because he wanted justice to be served.