China pledges to probe death of Nigerian man

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China on Thursday pledged to investigate the death of a Nigerian man while in police custody in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The 28-year-old businessman, whose name was given by Chinese state media as Elebechi Celestine, was detained after fighting on Monday with the driver of an electric bicycle over a disputed fare.

He died after being taken to the police station, sparking a protest by over 100 foreign nationals, identified as Africans, a day after the incident.

Some Internet postings claimed Celestine had been beaten by a crowd of Chinese onlookers.

"We will investigate the case in accordance with the law as soon as possible and provide relevant information to the Nigerian side," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a regular news briefing.

Officials of Guangdong province, where the city is located, had already communicated with the Nigerian embassy about the death and diplomats had confirmed the nationality of the victim, he said.

He gave no details about the possible cause of death.

The official China Daily quoted Nigerian embassy spokesman Ademola Oladele as saying: "We hope to see an independent autopsy report.

"We hope the incident can be appropriately addressed so it will not affect the current excellent relations between Nigeria and China."

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