Nigerian dies in drug bust, police accused of xenophobia

Two completely different reports have come up regarding the death of the late Kingsley Ikeri. (Photo from Channels Television website)

THE DEATH of a Nigerian man in Vryheid has sent waves all the way through to Nigeria, as allegations spread that the man was killed by the police in a xenophobic attack.

Aggrieved Nigerian locals claimed that 36-year-old Kingsley Ikeri was tortured and suffocated to death by the police who were conducting a drug raid on August 30.

According to Emeka Okoye, a friend of Mr Ikeri’s, who was arrested with him on the same day, the police took Mr Okoye to his house, they put a plastic over his face and handcuffed his legs and hands for over an hour and thirty minutes.

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Recalling the story to news channel, Channels Television, Mr Okoye said that he had never experienced anything like the ordeal before and that he nearly died.

“Even now, if I cough, I cough out blood,” said Mr Okoye.

Mr Okoye said that the police then took him to the cells and took Ikeri away for, what he believes, was the same torture.

The inquest investigation at the Ulundi police station, however, tells a completely different story.

According to the police report, Mr Kingsley is said to have died on Saturday, August 26, after choking on what is believed to be a small packet of drugs that he attempted to quickly swallow when police arrived at his house.

According to the statement, members of the Ulundi Public Order Policing unit conducted a drug operation in the Vryheid CBD on Saturday, August 26.

Emeka Okoye was arrested for the possession of drugs and detained. Upon being questioned, Mr Okoye is said to have given the police information regarding another drug dealer residing in East Street.
Mr Okoye is said to have pointed out the house of the other said drug dealer but could not give the police his name.
After taking Mr Okoye to the cells, the police proceeded to the said house with the intentions to search for drugs and make possible arrests.

It is here where they found the man believed to be Kingsley Ikeri who proceeded to swallow an unknown packet, downing it with a beer as they approached him.

The man is said to have started choking and members of the police took him to Vryheid Hospital where he was later declared deceased.

An inquest has been opened following the death of Kingsley Ikeri and samples have been taken for a toxicology report.

The SAPS are hoping that the results will prove what really happened during the account and that the necessary steps will then be taken.

Sine Thwala

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