Yabloko youth wing urges action after latest race-hate killing

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ST. PETERSBURG, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - The St. Petersburg youth wing of Russian political party Yabloko called on the city's law enforcement agencies Monday to take action to prevent attacks on foreign students after the killing of Indian student.

Late Sunday evening Nitesh Kumar Singh, a student at the St. Petersburg Mechnikov Medical Academy, was fatally stabbed by four unidentified assailants in the latest of a series of attacks targeting non-whites.

Yabloko's St. Petersburg Youth Union said, "There has been another murder of a foreign student in St. Petersburg. This didn't happen in an outer region or a dark courtyard, but in the city center, opposite the student hostel where he was staying."

The city has seen several alleged neo-Nazi attacks and killings in the last 12 months, which also included the beating of a Chinese student, and the stabbing of a nine-year-old girl of mixed Russian-African origin in early 2006.

The union's statement said attacks on foreign students were occurring in St. Petersburg "with frightening regularity... It is noteworthy that in April of this year, in almost the same place, an attack was carried out on another Indian student, but then his course-mates were able to save him. Since then, no measures have been implemented to guard this student hostel."

"We consider this situation to be abnormal. We demand that the authorities and law-enforcement agencies of St. Petersburg take measures to end attacks on foreign students and to organize constant patrols in places where they live and study," the statement said.

Other violent attacks on non-white foreigners in St. Petersburg in recent months included an attack on a man from Mali, who was stabbed to death in February, the murder of a student from Cameroon last December and of a Congolese student in September.

Routine attacks by skinheads and youth gangs on foreigners and people with non-Slavic features have also been reported in other Russian cities.

A recent string of attacks on foreign students has cast a shadow over Voronezh, which is located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Moscow and has traditionally been a popular destination with foreign undergraduates interested in studying in Russia.

Later in October of the same year, an Albanian national studying at Voronezh University told police he was beaten up near his dormitory and had his mobile phone and ID card stolen. In January, two men from Sudan were allegedly assaulted at one of the city's bus stops, but reportedly sustained no serious injuries.

The attacks prompted Russia's Education and Science Ministry to pledge a review of its list of colleges and universities recommended to foreign students.

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