[wide][/wide]3 Zambian students aged between 23-24 years, were severely beaten in Saint Petersburg Russia on the night of 18th March leaving one of the students in a Coma. Two of the students are studying at St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (FINEK), and the third at St.Petersburg State Engineering and Economic University (ENGECON).
The students whose names are Lenard,Christopher and Crispin were at an entertainment club, the “City”, located at number 113 on Ligovsky Avenue.
There are reports that was a quarrel and the guards at the Club are said to have severely beated the Zambian students breaking Christopher jaw and inflicting him with severe head injuries that has left him comatose.The other two also have severe head injuries.
Police are studying records of CCTV cameras to establish the circumstances of the incident which many believe was a racist attack.
Racist assaults are frequently committed by skinhead gangs, which have grown in number in recent years in Russia and specifically Saint-Petersburg.
They often target people from Russia’s Caucasus region and the former Soviet republics in Central Asia.
The number of such crimes has grown by nearly 20 per cent in 2010 from the year before, according to the Russian Prosecutor General, who conceded in April that the authorities are not successful in curbing the trend.
According to the New York Times Racist attitudes lie deep within the Russian psyche and are growing even worse now.
Earlier this week, St. Petersburg officials arrested four young men for the murder earlier this month of Roland Eposeka, a 29-year-old student from the Congo in what prosecutors believe was racially motivated.
In November 6, 2009 19 year old a Zambian student-Lance Mate went missing on November 6, 2009 after a quarrel with some Russians and his body was retrieved from Kazanka River in Kazan City 5 months later.The government is said to have downplayed this incidence and remained tight-lipped over the killing while Russian Ambassador to Zambia Boris Malakhov said the death of Mate was an isolated case.
However Africans living in Russia have been victims of racist attacks time and again.
“I don’t even think about going out for a walk because I am scared. I stay at home, in front of my computer, after classes. Can you imagine when people back at home ask me how was my life in Russia was for the past four years and I am not even familiar with any street but the street where we are now,” one student said.