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Nigerian nationals to remain behind bars

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The eight Nigerian nationals who allegedly attacked the police will remain in custody after their bail applications were denied.

The Nigerian nationals who allegedly attacked the police will remain in custody after their bail applications were denied. Picture Soraya Crowie

THE eight Nigerian nationals who allegedly attacked the police will remain in custody after their bail applications were denied recently.

The accused, Nnameka Unogu, Charles Annji, Steven Chijioke, Sophuru Umembu, Tochukwu Amajoyi, Okori Charles, Oken Kelechi and Kennedy Ebite, were charged with malicious damage to property, illegal immigration, interference with the law, assault, as well as public violence and then obstruction of justice.

Mayhem erupted when suspects were arrested on charges of allegedly being in possession of drugs on April 18.

The accused allegedly threw stones at the police and shattered windows at the Kimberley Police Station and attacked members of the SAPS.

A crowd of between 20 and 30 Nigerian nationals gathered outside the police station, demanding the release of their leader.

They have denied the charges against them.

One accused claimed that his cell phone was confiscated when he was arrested and assaulted when he took a video of a police officer assaulting one of their countrymen.

Magistrate Maimane Booi believed that the accused would undermine the criminal justice system if they were released.

“They are considered a flight risk and could evade their trial. They could disturb public order and peace. There is a likelihood that they may leave the country. They would have to be extradited should they cross the borders of the Republic of South Africa. They could easily breach their bail conditions.”

She added that the accused’s permits had expired.

“While they have partners, children and emotional ties in Kimberley, there is no one to verify their addresses.

“They are illegally in the country and are earning an income unlawfully. They will not suffer any financial prejudice if they remain in custody. One of the accused owns a tavern while the others are self-employed.”

Booi pointed out that the accused were facing serious charges that potentially carried terms of imprisonment if found guilty.

“The accused are charged with attacking the police and a police station where the community is supposed to feel safe and seek refuge.”

She postponed the matter until July 18 for further investigation. The accused will appear via an audio visual recording system.

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