Palma.—The National Police confirmed yesterday that five people, four men and a woman, have been arrested in connection with the rioting which took place in Son Gotleu last August.

All those detained by the police were Nigerian illegal immigrants. The five were given a conditional discharge after making a statement to police whilst in custody.

A spokesman at Balearic police headquarters in Palma said that all of the Nigerians questioned in connection with the riots had police records, but he refused to provide any further information.

The four men and the woman are accused of vandalising cars and motorcycles, clocking up damages to the tune of 50'000 euros. They are also alleged to have vandalised street fixtures and fittings in Son Gotleu, causing another 9'000 euros worth of damage.

Ethnic clashes
The arrests have come after ongoing investigations into the clashes between the gypsy and Nigerian communities in Son Gotleu this summer after the death of 28-year-old Nigerian Efosa Okosun. He died after falling from a fourth-floor balcony in the early hours of 29th August.

The police pointed out that their Homicide Squad had begun an immediate investigation into the death of Okosun and that the same day of the rioting, five people had been arrested on charges of public disorder, vandalism and aggressive behaviour using an axe, molotov cocktails and a lighter.

Despite the arrests made on the same day as Okosun died, rioting continued throughout the morning of 29th August, centring mostly around Plaza Fra Joan Alzina which is close to the property where the Nigerian fell to his death.

During the clashes between ethnic groups and police, one man was seriously injured when a bone in his left hand was smashed, an incident which was investigated by the Homicide Squad.

The rioting resulted in widespread vandalism with heavy and deliberate damage being inflicted on parked cars, waste paper bins, rubbish containers, traffic lights and other street fixtures and fittings.

A special investigations group commissioned by Balearic Police headquarters, assisted by officers from West Palma and Playa de Palma districts, set about sifting through the reports of what in fact had happened that day and to try and determine what charges should be brought and against whom.

To gauge some measure of the extent of the damage caused by the rioting, the investigating team said that there were 49 legal complaints lodged over vandalism on cars and motorcycles.


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