The family of a Nigerian man who died following an alleged violent attack by a crime fighting group at Galeshewe in the Northern Cape, says they are devastated and want justice. Nicolas Omodele died of his injuries at the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley after he was assaulted over the weekend for allegedly buying a stolen laptop.
Caroline Chikomba who remained calm while she spoke of her husband Nicolas Omodele’s death, could not hold back her grief after SABC news visited the area where he was beaten until he lost consciousness in Galeshewe township.
Omodele and his close friend were allegedly assaulted after members of a crime fighting group accused them of stealing a laptop. They were beaten with sticks and other objects. The police were called in, and Omodele was taken to hospital where he was declared brain-dead. Caroline Chikomba says her husband did not deserve to die in this manner.
“Even if they knew that he did something wrong, they weren’t supposed to beat him to that extent. At least they were supposed to take him and surrender him to the police and the police will do their job. Not to the extent to beat someone to death. I have a four-month-old son, four-month-old baby. I don’t even know how I am going to raise him,” says Caroline Chikomba.
An eyewitness to Omodele’s assault says the attack was unwarranted. Paul Chinonso has blamed the Galeshewe crime fighting group of being heavy-handed.
“They took me and him from town to Galeshewe to actually meet the owner of the laptop because they already changing the situation that we stole this now. Then we met the owner of the laptop, there by Galeshewe, we talked to the owner of the laptop, “If you say we stole property we can afford to buy the new one for you on the following Friday.” So the lady said everything is alright. Then we decided time to go, then another man come with another story. Before we know it they started to hit two of us with the stick,” says Chinonso.
Pantsi Obusitse, the Chairperson of the Crime Fighting Group says they will co-operate with the police.
Anthony Nwoso, the Chairperson of the Chanaeze Ndigbo in the Northern Cape, which represents a group of the Nigerian Community, says they have lost faith in the police.
“And even as we are speaking now the case is opened but no arrests have been made. Having someone lying dead, no arrests have been made,” says Anthony Nwoso.
Meanwhile, police have confirmed that a case of attempted murder has been opened at the Galeshewe police station, and that an investigation is underway.
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