Kenyan woman made up story about being attacked in India

A Kenyan woman who claimed she was beaten by a racist mob in India may have given false information, authorities say.

Ms Mary Kataka Burudi who on Wednesday reported to Indian Police authorities that she was assaulted by a gang of men later recanted her story.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to India Florence Weche said investigations found that her horrible tale was false.

“The girl admitted that she did not tell the truth. The assault was meted on her by her ‘boyfriend, a Nigerian,” the envoy wrote in her brief to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi.

“She has withdrawn the case and the police have said they would not bring up the case again.”

Mr Burudi had claimed that she was beaten by a mob as she rode in a taxi I Greater Noida City, a town about 50 kilometres south east of Indian capital New Delhi.

A gang of a dozen men is said to have stopped their taxi after which they ordered both the Indian driver and his Kenyan passenger out. She said they beat her claiming she was Nigerian, a supposed reference to the bad blood between local Indians and Nigerians since the week began.

Her attack, coming just days after two Nigerians were beaten in India, accused of overdosing a local lad with drugs and who later died, could have been labelled a racial attack.

Ms Burudi had also claimed that the mob only stopped beatings after she shouted her Kenyan nationality and that the first hospital she was taken to rejected her.

But on Friday, she recanted that tale, saying “family issues” had pushed her in to trauma.

The Association of African Students in India later told the Times of India that they were “embarrassed” by the incident.

“Maria has told us that she was in trauma and has been pleading that the case be withdrawn,” Charles Kennedy, vice president, AASI told Times of India. It was not immediately known how long she had been in India.

However, the incident did little to take away the fear among African students in India following renewed attacks against them. On Monday, two Nigerian brothers studying in India were beaten up by a mob accusing them of giving drugs to a local boy who later succumbed to an overdose.

They denied the charge. The Kenyan Mission India said it had written to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs seeking further assurances on the safety of Kenyans studying in India.

The Greater Noida city reportedly has a significant African population studying there. With occasional cultural tensions with locals, beatings occur. Ms Weche said the Mission had instructed Kenyans there to “stay indoors” until authorities return normalcy.

Since last year, Africans complained they were being targeted by locals in what is seen as racial attacks.

Last year, a Congolese national was murdered in New Delhi and African students including Kenyans were beaten up in southern city of Bangalore and Agra in the north.

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