Palma's Gypsy and Nigerian communities in peace deal after violent scenes

African immigrants saw sinister cause behind death of man who fell from fourth-floor balcony

The neighborhood of Son Gotleu, Palma de Mallorca, awoke to calm on Tuesday after a night of tension 24 hours earlier following a verbal agreement between Nigerian immigrants and residents of Gypsy origin to prevent further scenes of strife. Violence had flared on Monday following the death of Efosa Okosun, a 28-year-old Nigerian who fell to his death from a fourth-floor balcony.

Five people were arrested and some 30 cars were set ablaze in altercations between members of the Nigerian community and the police overnight on Monday after claims that Okosun had been thrown from an apartment block by three men of Gypsy descent.

Representatives of both communities met on Tuesday at the local police station in Son Gotleu to call for calm.

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The head of the island's public safety department, Guillermo Navarro, informed both parties that the police are investigating the events surrounding Okosun's death and that they would be the first to be told of the authorities' findings. Navarro asked the representatives to prevent any repeat of Monday's altercations, to which end they joined the local police in a walkabout in Son Gotleu to call for patience until the case is solved.

In spite of the show of unity, police reinforcements remained in place on the streets of Son Gotleu on Tuesday.

The police investigation into Okosun's death continues, although preliminary hypotheses rule out the involvement of a third party. Inquiries up to now support the theory that Okosun fell while trying to climb from one balcony to another by holding onto a pipe, which subsequently gave way.

The police said that there is no evidence that Okosun was being pursued by anybody at the time of his death, as was claimed by Nigerian residents of the neighborhood, who said that their compatriot fell after being harassed by immigrants of Gypsy descent.

The two ethnic groups have been historically suspicious of each other in Son Gotleu, where three in 10 residents is of African origin.

In August, 2009 a street battle between Nigerians and Gypsies ended in three people being injured by knives.

The police detain a Nigerian man after Monday's riot.
The police detain a Nigerian man after Monday's riot.M. T. D. (EFE)
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