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How I Was Brutalised, Sexually Assaulted By Cape Verde Border Officials



How I Was Brutalised, Sexually Assaulted By Cape Verde Border Officials


Cape Verde airport officials who brutalised Tunde

A report by SaharaReporters has shown that a Nigerian-American simply identified as Tunde has told of how he suffered terribly in Cape Verde.

The man alleged that he was physically and $eCually assaulted by border police officers in Cape Verde for reasons unknown to him.

The man said he had arrived in Santiago for a two-day sight-seeing tour of the island of Santiago but that despite having proof of a confirmed hotel reservation, confirmed return flight ticket, and evidence of $500 in cash plus $5,000 in credit cards, he was denied entry into the country without being offered an explanation.

According to him, he was ordered to be held at the Nelson Mandela International Airport till the following day for a return flight while he was being coerced several times to sign a document in a language he did not fully understand.  

He said the police had told him his release was contingent upon signing and that he would be held indefinitely if he failed to do so.

He said as one living with asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, he feared his dietary needs might not be met and had sought consular assistance from the United States consulate in Praia.

Tunde said his request was turned down as the police said his US passport listed his place of birth as Nigeria.

Tunde said he was kept in detention till the following day and when he repeated the request, it attracted the fury of the custodial agent on duty who assaulted him physically and $eCually alongside a security man who was with a cudgel.

He said he could count 61 individual blows of the cudgel on him in addition to the physical and $eCual assault of the Cape Verde border police officer who rammed his head into a wall.

The assault on him, he claimed, caused him to be hospitalised for days at the Hospital Agostinho Neto on request of the airport medical team.

He wrote, “I am a US citizen with passport number XXX  XXX  XXX, and I’m seeking consular assistance for an illegal physical and $eCual assault I suffered at the hands  of Cabo Verde (also Cape Verde) border police. This assault occurred during the night of January 4th/5th, 2021.

“Here is a condensed chronology of that incident: I arrived at or around 12:15 pm on Monday, 4th January, 2021 at the Nelson Mandela International Airport in Santiago on Air Senegal Flight HC 207. I had arrived for a planned 2-day sight-seeing tour of the island of Santiago. In spite of producing a confirmed hotel reservation, a confirmed return flight, and evidence of $500 in cash plus $5,000 in credit cards, I was ultimately denied entry. No justification for this denial of entry was ever communicated to me; not verbally or in writing.

“I was ordered to be held at the airport till the following day for a return flight. Owing to several fears I had about this seemingly arbitrary refusal of entry and detention, I did not believe the Cabo Verde border police authorities would act in good faith. These were my main fears: I suffer from IBD (Inflammatory bowel diseases) and Asthma and have rather specific dietary needs. It was my view that these health and dietary needs would not be fulfilled in the detention facilities.  Ultimately, they were not. I was denied access to my medication which had been taken from me on arrival.

“The  Cabo  Verde  border  police  had  made  numerous  attempts  to  coerce  me  to sign  a  document  in  a  language  I  did  not  fully  understand.  I was informed that my  release  was  contingent  upon  signing  and  that  I  would  be  held  indefinitely till  I  signed. On  the  basis  of  these  fears,  I  requested  consular  assistance  from  the  United States  consulate  in  Praia.

“I  repeated  this  request  to  the  custodial  Cabo  Verde  border  police  at  least  once every  half  an  hour,  but  was  consistently  refused.  The  oft-repeated  reason  for refusal  of  access  to  consular  assistance  was  that  my  US  passport  listed  my place  of  birth  as  Nigeria.  The  Cabo  Verde  border  police  stated  that,  for  this reason,  they  did  not  consider  me  to  be  a  true  US  citizen.

“At  or  around  1:00  AM  in  the  early  morning  hours  of  Tuesday,  5th  January,  I renewed  my  requests  to  receive  consular  assistance.  I  did  this  by  rapping  on the  dividing  window  between  the  detention  area  and  the  police  observatory  post to  get  the  attention  of  the  Cabo  Verde  border  police  on  duty.

“In  fury  at  my  persistent  knocking  and  repeated  requests  for  consular  assistance, the  custodial  agent  summoned  a  security  man  with  a  cudgel  and  the  assault occurred  as  follows: The  Cabo  Verde  police  officer  opened  the  holding  area  and  entered  with  the cudgel-wielding  security  officer. Immediately, the  security  officer  began  a  volley  of  blows  on  all  parts  of  my body  below  the  neck.

“At  some  point,  I  raised  my  hands  to  defend  myself,  so  the  Cabo  Verde  border tripped  me  up.  I  fell  and  then  held  me  down  while  the  cudgel-wielding  security officer  continued  raining  blows  on  me  with  his  cudgel. At  some  point,  the  Cabo  Verde  police  officer  must  have  realised/remembered that  these  attacks  were  taking  place  in  full  view  of  the  security  cameras,  so  he tried  to  discreetly  alert  the  security  guard  while  dragging  me  off  camera  by  the foot. At  all  points  during  the  dragging,  the  security  officer  continued  to  pummel me  with  his  cudgel.

“I  cannot  be  sure  if  we  were  now  fully  off-camera,  but  at  this  point,  the  Cabo Verde  border  police  agent  rushed  back  to  close  the  connecting  door  through which  he  had  dragged  me  (I  was  still  being  pummelled  by  the  security  guard). He  had  dragged  me  a  distance  of  about  30  feet. He  returned  to  where  he  had  deposited  me,  knelt  at  my  level,  and  then suddenly  punched  my  head  into  the  wall. As  I  cried  out  in  agony (the  security  guard  was  standing  over  me  with  his cudgel,  I  was  sitting  on  the  floor  very  close  to  the  wall,  the  Cabo  Verde  police agent  was  crouched  beside  me),  the  security  guard  laughed.

“The  Cabo  Verde police  agent  grabbed  a  hold  of  my  genitals  (due  to  the  dragging,  my  jeans  had been  pulled  lower,  so  my  genitals  were  somewhat  exposed)  and  said  a  few things  I  did  not  understand  all  the  while  twisting  my  genitals  and  making mocking  kissing  pouts  in  what  I  imagined  was  a  routine  designed  to  humiliate. Then  he  hit  me  in  the  head  once  more,  stood  up  and  kicked  me,  then  he  and the  security  agent  retreated.

“All  in  all,  I  counted  at  least  61  individual  blows  of  the  cudgel  in  addition  to  the physical  and  $eCual  assault  of  the  Cabo  Verde  border  police. The  visible  trauma  inflicted  by  the  assault  was  so  severe  that  when  the  new shift  arrived  just  after  4:00 am,  they  were  concerned  enough  to  seek  emergency first  aid  from  the  airport  medical  team.  In  turn,  the  airport  medical  team  was concerned  enough  by  the  numerous  trauma  that  covered  most  of  the  left  side of  my  body  that  they  insisted  I  be  rushed  to  the  hospital. We  arrived  at  the  Hospital  Agostinho  Neto  at  or  around  5:00 am  on  Tuesday, January  5th.  

“The  emergency  intake  conducted  X-rays  and  had  to  consult  an orthopaedic  surgeon  to  prescribe  a  palliative  protocol.  I  remained  at  the hospital  where  I  was  variously  examined  until  just  after  7:00 am  when  the police  asked  that  I  be  returned  to  their  custody  in  preparation  for  the proceedings  to  return  me  on  the  next  flight.

“The  trauma  inflicted  upon  me  was  variously  observed  by  several  members  of the  Cabo  Verde  border  police  who  appeared  surprised  and  appalled  that  I  had suffered  such  treatment. I  called  the  US  Consulate  in  Praia  in  the  morning  of  January  6th  and  was urged  to  put  this  in  writing  and  send  across  as  soon  as  possible.  I  have now done this and placed myself and this matter  in  your  competent  hands. Please,  let  me  know  if  I  shall  be  required  to  furnish  further  information.”


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