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8 Jul, 2016 01:30

Nigerian Boko Haram attack survivor ‘beaten to death’ in racist attack by Italian football fan

Nigerian Boko Haram attack survivor ‘beaten to death’ in racist attack by Italian football fan

A right-wing football fan is in custody after reportedly using a road sign pole to fatally beat a Nigerian refugee, prompting outrage across Italy.

“[The government] is against hate, racism and violence,” tweeted Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

36-year-old Emmanuel Chidi Namdi arrived in Fermo, on Italy’s eastern coast, last November, telling immigration officials that he narrowly escaped a Boko Haram church bombing, before deciding to flee Nigeria with his 24-year-old fiancée Chinyeri.

On Tuesday night, Namdi was walking along the central street of the sleepy town with a population of under 40,000 with his partner, when he crossed paths with Amedeo Mancini, a 35-year-old, described by the media as an ‘ultra,’ a hardcore football fan.

The exact sequence of the altercation remains unclear, but local media reported that Mancini began hurling insults at Namdi, and his companion, calling Chinyeri “a monkey.” Several sources said that Mancini also physically grabbed the woman.

The two men squared up, and though different witnesses have made contrasting claims about who swung the first punch, Mancini eventually pulled a traffic pole out of the ground, and began hitting Namdi in the head.

The Nigerian man went limp, and was taken to hospital in a coma. He died hours later without regaining consciousness.

Mancini was immediately arrested, but his lawyer claims that he acted in self-defense and is horrified at the outcome.

“Amedeo Mancini is destroyed with pain. He did not want to kill, and he expresses his closeness to those who are crying for Emmanuel,” said legal counsel Francesco De Minicis. “My client did not expect that hitting the migrant would have this effect, and he places the episode in a defensive context.”

A vigil was held for the couple on Wednesday night, and Chinyeri cried out repeatedly “Why do you leave me in this wicked world?”

The surviving woman had reportedly lost a child to miscarriage on her way from Nigeria, and the couple had been wed by a local priest earlier this year, at the Catholic shelter where they had been living together.

"The heart of Italy isn't represented by those who carried out this murder," said Interior Minister Angelino Alfano as he paid an emergency visit to Fermo.

The government has said that Chinyeri will now be granted asylum.

More than 67,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean into Italy this year alone, according to estimates by the International Organization for Migration.