Northern Ireland

PSNI treat attack on Nigerian family as hate crime

The police say they are treating an attack on the home of a Nigerian family in Belfast as a hate crime.

The family were in their home in the Kilmuir Avenue area of Ballybeen when two upstairs windows were smashed.

The attack happened shortly after 0040 BST on 13 June, but police have only just released details.

It is understood the family are now trying to find other accommodation.

Local clergy issued a statement to show their support for the family.

"We the members of churches in Ballybeen stand together with other members of our community in our rejection and condemnation of the recent unprovoked and seemingly racially-motivated attacks on a family of Nigerian origin living in our community," it said.

"We are saddened that they now feel that it is unsafe for their children that they continue to live in Ballybeen.

"We call upon all church members, residents of Ballybeen, political representatives, statutory authorities and community workers to do all that they can to affirm and ensure that this community is a secure place to live for people of all racial and national backgrounds, so that no-one may fear intimidation or expulsion from their homes."

PSNI area commander for Castlereagh, chief inspector Derek Martin, said: "Everyone has the right to a peaceful and safe existence and incidents of this nature will absolutely not be tolerated.

"Our officers are fully committed to playing their part in preventing such dreadful crimes occurring.

"We all have a part to play in dealing with hate crime, however the police alone cannot solve what is a wider societal issue.

"I would appeal to anyone who has information on this incident to pass it to police."