An attack, which likely was a hate crime, took place close to the centre of Sofia on May 14. At about 7pm, a foreigner with dual Nigerian and American nationalities was beaten by an unknown criminal. The incident happened close to the Russian Monument on Makedonia Boulevard.

The victim, Okon Enyenihi, said a young man, about 1.8 metres tall, suddenly came up to him from behind and hit him very hard. Enyenihi fell to the ground. In English, he asked the attacker what was wrong, but got no answer.

Before Enyenihi had the chance to figure out what was going on, the attacker pulled out a pen-knife, which according to the victim was seven to 10cm long. The victim of the beating decided running away was the safest option at that moment. A taxi driver, who was parking at the Russian Monument, declined to take Enyenihi anywhere, but showed him the way to the nearby Pirogov Hospital, which is where he went.

At Pirogov, a nurse cleaned his face a little, which by now had swollen. Also he received a tetanus shot and was told not to wash his face for five days.

Since Okon Enyenihi was not really convinced this kind of medical treatment was sufficient, he decided to leave Bulgaria two days earlier than originally planned. He left at about noon, after reporting the attack to the police.

There are several aspects which point towards a hate crime: Okon Enyenihi is a black person. It would not be the first time that dark-skinned visitors get beaten up by racists in Sofia. Also it is no secret that xenophobia and racism are widespread in Bulgaria. The latter targets refugees, but also musicians, members of certain minorities, and obviously tourists like Enyenihi.

The information and documentation provided to this publication could not be independently confirmed. The Sofia Globe will forward the information to relevant organisations.

Photo by Okon Enyenihi

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