Namibian students attacked in Ukraine

Windhoek-Two Namibian students were among the five African students in Ukraine who survived a savage mob attack, which has been described as an xenophobic assault on Africans by Ukrainian nationals.

The students were attacked by a group of about 40 Ukrainians while taking a stroll in a public park in central Lutsk, a green city on the Styr River in northwestern Ukraine.

The attack happened last week Thursday evening and has left Namibian students fearing for their lives.

The students allege the terrifying incident looked like it was a planned attack as the mob had gardening tools such as rakes, spades and wood, ready to attack and kill.

Two of my fellow students were beaten and left unconscious; two managed to escape with minor injuries and one was left bleeding. They are in a bad state and were back from the hospital without any medical assistance. This has left us traumatized and feeling threatened, one of the students narrated to New Era over the phone.

The students who were assaulted are from Algeria, Libya, Namibia, Nigeria, and Senegal.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, confirmed the ministry has received reports of the attack.

Namibia is now waiting for a full official report from its embassy in Russia, which is responsible for Ukraine, on the health and safety of Namibian students in that country.

We heard about the attacks. We have contacted our embassy in Moscow because it's the one accredited to Ukraine. They are trying to establish the facts. As soon as I have the facts I will inform the public. They are in contact with our students in Ukraine, Ashipala-Musavyi said.

The students are further aggrieved by the fact that the police had not arrested any of the people who attacked them.

Furthermore, the students also complained there are many agencies in Ukraine that overcharge students as much as N$60,000 for language courses, which they say is way too much.

Ukraine is a multi-ethnic and multicultural nation where racism and ethnic discrimination are arguably largely a fringe issue.

However, incidents of violence have been recorded where the victim's race is widely thought to have played a role. Those incidents receive extensive media coverage and are usually condemned by all mainstream political forces.

But Human Rights Watch has reported that racism and xenophobia remain entrenched problems in Ukraine.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia