Diplomats participate in Africa Day fete

Diplomats participate in Africa Day fete
Following assurance from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that necessary steps would be taken to ensure the safety of Africans in India, African diplomats on Thursday attended an event to celebrate Africa Day.

The event was organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in New Delhi. On Wednesday, the envoys threatened to boycott the event in view of the violence against Africans, the most recent being the murder of Congolese national Masonda Ketada Oliver in Delhi. “The earlier decision to request postponement does and should not have been considered as a boycott. African nations will attend the event,” Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam, dean, African Group Head of Missions, said earlier in the day.

MoS for External Affairs Gen V K Singh said he would meet African heads of missions every three months. “India is safe... This one incident is not racially motivated,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, in an apparent backlash over the killing of Oliver, Indian shops and establishments in Congo’s capital Kinshasa were attacked. Two Indians were injured.

Gunshots were fired, injuring two Indians. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said Indian establishments were targeted on Monday and Tuesday in the city's commercial areas, and that the Indian mission in Kinshasa has taken up the issue with Congo's Foreign Ministry.

“A note verbale (letter of protest) was issued to Congo's Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a copy to the Interior Ministry and police authorities to ensure safety of life and property of all Indians residing there,” said Vikas Swarup, MEA spokesperson.

Oliver’s death comes four months after a Tanzanian girl student was beaten and paraded naked in Bengaluru.

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