Five Nigerian students in Greater Noida, India, have been accused of cannibalism after 19-year-old Manish Khari went missing on Friday, March 24th, at about 7pm. After Failing to return home, his relatives and neighbours set out in search of him, and they were told by someone that Manish was last seen with five Nigerian students that lived two days away. (The police are yet to verify this claim).
On arrival to the house where the Nigerians were staying, the crowd barged in, but only two out of the five Nigerians were home, but Manish was nowhere to be found. Since they believed that Manish was last seen with the Nigerians, they came to the conclusion that he had been eaten up by the Nigerians.
The police were eventually called, and the two Nigerian men were taken into protective custody to prevent being harmed by the angry mob, as they insisted on interrogating the Nigerians themselves.
On Saturday morning, Manish that was reported missing returned, but he seemed out of sorts. The fact that he returned home didn’t let the Nigerians off the hook as would have been the next logical thing.
A neighbour who preferred to remain anonymous said that on Khari’s return, he was looking shocked and had injuries on his foot, and could barely recognise anyone.
Around an hour after Khari had been escorted home, his condition deteriorated. About an hour after he was taken home, Manish complained of heart palpitations and started to vomit. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, and then referred to another, where he was declared dead.
Khari died on Saturday, March 25th, and this lead his family to insist that the Nigerians should be charged with murder.
The students identified as Usman Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Amir, Saeed Kabir, Abdul Usman, Saeed Abu Waqar, were booked under charges of murder and causing hurt by means of a poisonous substance with intent to commit an offence.
The next day being Sunday, troops of African students participated in a demonstration at Kasna police station in Greater Noida to protest the murder charges levelled against the Nigerian students.
“How can someone come up with such inhuman allegations?” asked Najib Hamisu Umar, 29, a Nigerian who is pursuing a PhD in India. “I have lived in Russia and Germany but never been through such trauma. The day I leave India, I shall never come back.”
Superintendent of Police (Greater Noida-Rural), Sujata Singh, said that the five Nigerians, who study at the Noida International University, had been interrogated and booked for murder, but despite the severity of the charges, the students were allowed to go on Sunday, as there was not enough evidence against them.
On Sunday, security was at its highest at NSG Black Cat Enclave. Visitors were being asked to meet the enclave management in order to enter. The Kharis had left for their village to conduct their son’s last rites. The house the Nigerian students rented was also vacant, as they had been moved to an undisclosed location for their safety.
A group of locals, who claimed to have seized some variety of drugs from the five students, also explained how they had come to the conclusion that the Nigerian students were cannibals after they recovered a hacksaw blade from the car of a visitor who came to visit the five students. However, those allegations were dismissed by the police.
“We have recovered no such thing from the possession of the suspects,” said Sujata Singh. “We cannot comment much on the case at this stage as the final postmortem report is yet to arrive.”
Several locals who claimed to have spoken to Khari after he returned on Saturday, claimed that Khari had been kidnapped by a dark-skinned person who forced him to inhale a substance that made him pass out. When he woke, they said, he found himself lying in the green belt close to the Yamuna Expressway.
President of the Association of African Students in India, Samuel Abiye, said that his group’s primary demand was that the police conduct a fair investigation, and also wanted the police to lodge a case against local residents who made the allegations against the Nigerian students.