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A migrant seeking asylum from Boko Haram found his death at the hands of a fascist in Italy

EPA/Cristiano Chiodi
Death by racism.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

An asylum seeker in Italy was killed on Tuesday, June 5, after responding to racist insults against his wife.

In 2015, Emmanuel Chidi Nnamdi, then 34, and his partner Chinyere, 24, made a perilous journey from Nigeria to Italy. The two applied for asylum, and while waiting on a decision, were housed in a shelter ran by a Catholic organization in Fermo, a town of about 40,000 in the central Italian region of Marche. They told Vinicio Albanesi, the priest overseeing the shelter, that they fled their native country after terror group Boko Haram set their church on fire, killing both of their parents and their daughter. But Italy turned out to be no safer.

Nnamdi was allegedly beaten to death on Tuesday by Amedeo Mancini, a local farmer described by Italian newspapers as having connections to far-right political groups, and who had been banned from public sporting events for violent behavior. According to the initial police reconstruction of the events (link in Italian), the couple was walking near the seminary where they lived when 35-year-old Mancini, sitting on a bench by the street with a friend, started shouting racist insults and called Chinyere an “African monkey.”

What exactly happened next is yet to be confirmed, but in the altercation, Nnamdi fell to the ground. Mancini and another man continued to beat him, according to Chinyere. Nnamdi ended up in a coma and was declared dead in the hospital shortly after. Chinyere, too, is severely injured, although the doctors say she will recover.

Mancini has been arrested on charges of murder.

Chinyere reportedly hoped to donate Nnamdi’s organs, but was not able to authorize the donation—their relationship had been celebrated only as a religious ceremony (link in Italian) and not formalized under Italian law.

The horrifying episode comes in a climate of growing intolerance and resurgence of far-right, xenophobic movements across Europe, and has caused shock across Italy. Earlier this year, four bombs were found outside buildings belonging to the same community that hosted the couple.

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